Maryland Legislators Hold Special Session on Breed-Specific Legislation

Last week, Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick signed a bill that prohibits towns and countied from passing breed-specific legislation that labels dogs as “dangerous” simply because of their breed. On Thursday, Maryland’s legislature will take up a similar issue in a special session. Back in May, the state’s highest court called pit bulls “inherently dangerous” and said that a landlord could be held liable for any attacks. The special session will address questions of liability.

Aileen Gabbey, of the SPCA, hopes that the “dangerous breed” label is removed: “Ideally, we want legislation that treats all the dogs the same and fairly, regardless of breed.”

One consequence of the court ruling this spring is that adoptions of pit bulls have slowed at shelters, as potential owners fear they could find themselves in legal troutble or be kicked out of their rental homes by wary landlords.

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Is this dog “inherently dangerous”? Maryland’s legislature will decide whether that’s true, from a legal standpoint anyway.

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