SALISBURY, Md.- The bullseye is moving off of pit bulls in Maryland. This year, state lawmakers are looking to make all dog owners completely responsible if their dog lays its paws or teeth on someone else.
Last year, pit bull owners in the state were dealt a blow when the state's highest court ruled pit bulls were "inherently dangerous" because of their breed.
The ruling applied to both pure bred pits and mixed-breed animals and held their owners solely liable for their dog attacking someone.
The Maryland General Assembly formed a task force to study the decision, which studied the impact on pit bull owners, classifying the breed and the effects on the rental market.
In August, the court of appeals revised it's original ruling, limiting its decision to only purebred pit bulls.
Now lawmakers are considering a bill meant to overturn last year's ruling. If this year's proposed bill passes, it would create strict liability for all dog owners regardless of what kind of dog they own.
Some dog owners in Salisbury told WBOC that what is fair is fair but some others said passing such a law may not be such a good idea.
Bill Livingston said his dog is his life and like most dog lovers, he does not believe his dog would hurt anyone.
"I am sort of the guy who isn't in the favor of having to make new laws," Livingston said.
He said the decision to hold owners responsible for death or damage from a dog attack is a toss up.
"I think we have reached a point where if you start making laws to start doing something like this because this is actually common sense," Livingston said.
Brittney Minerva owns a pit bull and said it's not fair to single out just one breed. Minerva said she thinks lawmakers should also consider why a dog may attack in the first place.
"If someone comes up and is provoking the dog and the owner is around who says that this is something that bothers my dog then in that situation it should not be the owner held responsible because the victim in that case provoked the situation," Minerva said.
Miguel Carrion said he's all about owner responsibility no matter what the situation or type of dog a person has.
"People don't realize that sometimes a dog looks friendly but a dog is not friendly, these dogs are here to protect their loved ones and their surroundings," Carrion said.
The proposed bill is sitting in the house judiciary committee.
Once it's out of the committee it will go to the senate floor scheduled for a hearing on Feb. 5.
Wednesday, June 19 2013 1:44 PM EDT2013-06-19 17:44:04 GMT
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