House passes pit bull bill

The House of Delegates on Thursday passed a bill that would undo a controversial court ruling that labeled pit bulls "inherently dangerous."

The bill, passed unanimously by the 133 delegates in the chamber without debate, would eliminate any breed distinctions in Maryland law governing attacks. But it also would make it easier to sue a dog owner whose pet bites.

The court ruling last spring created legal ramifications for both pit bull owners and the landlords of property where pit bulls live. It sparked outrage among animal advocates who objected to singling out one group of canines and prompted some landlords to tell tenants to get rid of their dogs or face eviction.

A compromise forged in both chambers would lay responsibility on owners to prove their dog isn't dangerous if it bites someone unprovoked. The measure will now move to the Senate, where it is also expected to pass.

—Erin Cox

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