Are Some Breeds of Dogs Considered “Dangerous” in Maryland?
In most counties in Maryland, the laws do not distinguish between different breeds of dogs or single out any particular breeds of, such as pitbulls, as being more dangerous than other breeds. However, you must be familiar with the specific canine laws in your county and/or city to know if your pet may be categorized as dangerous.
For example, the laws in Prince George’s County make it illegal for residents of the county to own Staffordshire Terriers, American Pitbull Terriers, and American Staffordshire Terriers or any dogs who portray or exhibit more characteristics of a Pit Bull than any other breed. The maximum fine for owning a Pitbull is $1,000.00.
Even though most counties and cities do not have laws regarding owning specific breeds, dog owners must still adhere to safety precautions for the benefit of other people and animals.
While most dog owners love their dogs as if they were family, dogs are still animals and animals can be unpredictable. If provoked, any dog can become aggressive. Dog owners can be held responsible for their pet’s actions. This is especially true if you are injured by a dog biting you or charging at you, causing you to fall and become injured.
Under Maryland law §3–1901 presumes that owners of dogs that cause injury or death knew or should have known that their dog had vicious or dangerous traits.
As the injured party, you have a greater chance of prevailing against the dog owner because the dog owner has to prove that he/she/they did not know and had no reason to know that the dog was or could become vicious.
As the injured party, you have three years from the date that the action “accrues” to file a lawsuit against the animal owner. Commonly, it is three years from the time of the incident.
Failure to file the lawsuit within the critical period will result in your case’s dismissal, and you will lose your right to receive due compensation and damages.
Does Maryland Follow The “One Bite Rule” Used By Other States?
The state of Maryland is not a one-bite state. Its dog bite laws fall under the state’s “strict liability” laws. So, if you are injured in a dog attack and sustain an injury, you can file a claim under the state’s strict liability statutes.
The Maryland legislature passed a “breed-neutral” law eliminating the so-called “one-bite” rule. The previous rule assumes that dog owners know their dogs can bite someone. However, this new law also allows the dog’s owner to neutralize this presumption if they can show the court that they had no reason to believe their dog would cause harm.
This new legislation (Maryland Cts & Jud Pro Code § 3-1901.2) effectively changed the previous ruling of Maryland, which found that pit bulls are inherently dangerous and that strict liability could be imposed on the Pitbull’s owner(s) and their landlords. In other words, Pitbulls are no longer deemed to be inherently dangerous.
This can be a confusing area of Maryland’s dog bite laws, and the help, advice, and guidance of a professional, knowledgeable, and aggressive dog bite injury lawyer is mandatory.
What Should I Do If I’m Bitten By a Dog in Maryland?
Dog bites are much more common than most people believe, and about 4.5 million people are bitten each year. Unfortunately, many of these victims are children, usually bitten on the head, face, or neck.
The breeds of dogs with the most powerful bite forces are Kangal (743 pounds), Cane Corso (700 pounds), Tosa Inu (556 pounds) Mastiff (552 pounds), Akita (400 pounds), Rottweiler (328 pounds), American Bulldog (305 pounds), German Shepherd (238 pounds), Pitbull (235 pounds).
These injuries may be minor, but some can be horribly severe. The force of a dog bite can tear tendons and fracture bones. Additionally, all dogs carry different bacteria in their mouths, so infection is the first serious concern.
After you get safely away from the aggressive animal, do the following:
- Observe the wound and see if the skin is broken.
- Wash the wound thoroughly with warm water to clean it and hopefully prevent infection.
- Stop bleeding and apply antibiotic ointment.
- If the injury appears severe, call 911 immediately and get your needed professional help.
You must note that under Maryland’s dog bite laws, the owner of a dog will likely be liable for any injury, death, or loss to a person or property due to their animal.
So, also try to do the following:
- Find out who owns the dog.
- Find out if the dog’s owner(s) owns or rent their residence.
- Find out whether the dog’s vaccines are all up to date?
- Contact animal control, file a report, and request an investigation.
- If possible, write down and take photos of the scene and your injuries and detail exactly what occurred.
If you have any concerns or questions, consult a Pikesville dog bite lawyer immediately. Ensure your rights, out-of-pocket costs, lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, and more are wholly compensated.
I (or My Loved One) Has Been Attacked By a Dog; How Should I Proceed?
Millions of dog attacks and bites yearly result in severe and even debilitating injuries. Medical attention is usually needed, and costs can skyrocket. If you, or your child has been bitten severely, your whole life may change.
Get the professional, thorough, aggressive, and empathetic, legal guidance you need by contacting the dog bite injury lawyers at the Law Offices Of Alex Poberesky today. Call (410) 484-0400 and receive the immediate and thorough legal attention you need.