ANNAPOLIS, Md. (CBSDC) - Gambling expansion isn’t the only issue Maryland lawmakers are expected to address in a special session Thursday and Friday.
Also up for debate is an issue that affects all dog owners across the state, pitting dog lovers and landlords against an Appeals Court ruling earlier this year.
Dog lovers will be rallying outside the Maryland State House Thursday, in defense of their furry friends. A draft bill is up for consideration that would, in part, reverse a ruling made by an Appeals Court in April that established pit bulls and pit mixes are inherently dangerous, and holds both owners and their landlord liable in the event of an attack.
Maryland Votes For Animals, a local watchdog group for dog rights, warns that this ruling establishes a dangerous precedent in connecting landlords and renters in the share of responsibility.
A spokesman for the group, Frank Branchini says, “It doesn’t have to just be big dog breeds. Once you establish this precedent, any dog breed including small dogs that have a reputation for being ill-tempered could be targeted.”
Plenty of attention is being garnered, with dog owners and landlord groups lining in Annapolis Thursday, asking lawmakers to use the special session on expanded gambling to reconsider the ruling made earlier in the year.
A draft bill that lawmakers are expected to consider would remove the breed specifics, holding a dog owner liable for an attack, regardless of the breed. The bill also removes all liability from the landlord, discouraging landlords across the state from denying a lease to a person, simply because the person owns a dog.
This will be the last opportunity for lawmakers to address the issue until January of 2013.