Maryland dog bill passes Senate

Photo: The Associated Press

The Maryland General Assembly is closing out the final hours of a landmark session. Delegates have considered many sweeping pieces of legislation. Among them was a court ruling that labeled certain types of dogs "inherently dangerous."

When a court ruled pit bulls "inherently dangerous" last year there was an outcry from pit bull owners like Tiffany Butcher.

“I think it’s almost a form of racism against dogs,” she says. “Just because he’s a pit bull doesn’t mean he’s bad.”

Landlords faced with liability ordered tenants to get rid of their pit bulls. Animal shelters immediately filled up.

“Instantly more turn-ins came. People started turning in pit bulls immediately,” says Rodney Taylor, the director of Prince George’s County Animal Control.

Hearing the howls, the legislature decided to act. After 90 days of wrangling, a compromise is expected to pass before midnight, which would make owners of all dog breeds liable if their dog bites and more so if the victim is a child.

Darlene Christiansen thinks the legislature has gone too far. She doesn’t think her shitzu mix is known for biting.

“Pit bulls are nice dogs. It’s all about how you bring them up,” says Patrick Smith.

Smith says based on his experience with his dog Max, he likes the new dog bill.

“I think it’s fair because all dogs bite. They all got teeth.”