Maryland Criminal Lawyer Colleen Kirby Reacts to Enhanced Pit Bull Legislation

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A Maryland Senate Panel advanced legislation that would severely curtail the rights of pit bull owners.

The State of Maryland took another step this week towards ratifying a law that will further the restrictions places on the owners of pit bulls and their owners, according to ABC 27. A state senate panel has passed a bill addressing a ruling by the court of appeals that will increase the likelihood of a pit bull owner being liable after an attack by their dog. The bill will now be passed on to the full state senate for consideration.

Colleen Kirby Attorney at Law is an owner of multiple pit bulls and an outspoken advocate of the breed.

“I was completely appalled reading some of the articles about this,” says Ms. Kirby. “The facts that are being cited about these dogs are completely false. These are strong dogs and if they do want to inflict pain, they can. I truly do sympathize with people who have been attacked by pit bulls, just as I sympathize with anyone who has been attacked by any type of dog. But the bottom line is any dog can attack. It's just that this particular breed is very strong. So, really the key to it is responsible ownership, training your dog, being aware, keeping it on a leash, keeping it in a fenced in yard. But I think that applies across the board.”

Ms. Kirby also helps define what is meant by the term, breed specific legislation.

“Breed specific legislation is when the legislature makes laws that apply to specific breeds. So, for example, let's say the state of Texas has decided that if you're going to own a German Shepard, you have to walk it on a muzzle. That's breed specific legislation. It's legislation not saying that all dogs need to be walked on a muzzle. You're picking out one specific breed and legislating that breed. I know in Prince George's County you're not allowed to own a pit bull whatsoever. I know in other jurisdictions they've said if you're going to walk your pit bull you have to walk it on a muzzle. So, what breed specific legislation, is when the legislature has decided to make a law pertaining to dogs, or animals, and they single out one breed and make that a law applied only to one breed.”

The new legislation that is being passed through the Maryland judicial system will eliminate pit bull owners from consideration under the State’s one bite rule. That law allows owners of dogs to avoid prosecution if their pet bites someone for the first time after not showing any previous signs of violent behavior. It would also hold landlords responsible for any pit bull attacks that happen on their property, making it potentially harder for it bull owners to find places to live.

Colleen Kirby is a Maryland criminal lawyer that handles criminal defense throughout the state. Please contact us for more information about this legislation and any associated laws.

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