Don't Rent to Pitbulls

Posted by Edward Sharkey on Tue, 05/08/2012 - 14:16

In a recent opinion, the Maryland Court of Appeals established a standard of strict liability for harm caused by pit bulls (or pit bull mixed breeds). This is different from the standard applicable to every other dog, where liability must be based upon proof that the owner had reason to know of the dog's dangerous propensity. The traditional standard is why people commonly suggest that dogs are given "one free bite" before their owner will be held liable for injuries they cause.

The case is relevant to businesses that rent property because the persons subject to liability are the dog's owner "or other person who has the right to control the pit bull's presence on the subject premises." This includes a landlord. Most businesses renting residential property likely already ban dogs or, at minimum, pit bulls. If not, this is the case that warrants it. A landlord will be liable for any and all harm caused by a pit bull living at, and potentially even just visiting, the premises.

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