Anne Arundel County Police say that a man told his pit bull to attack a teenage boy on the night of March 16th. The boy and his friend were sitting in a parked car on Farrara Drive in Gambrills, Maryland when the man drove up in his Silver Ford Taurus and asked them if they knew anyone named Andy. Both boys said that they didn’t. The man then got out of his car, opened the boys’ car door and told his pit bull to get them.
The 17-year-old boy sustained a six- to seven-inch cut and small puncture wounds on his left bicep, where he was bitten by the pit bull. The boy drove himself to Nighttime Pediatrics, and from there an ambulance drove him to Baltimore Washington Medical Center.
Maryland places strict liability on a dog’s owner if their dog attacks a person without provocation, whether or not the dog has a prior history of violence.
Citation: MD Code, Criminal Law, § 10-619
Statute in Full:
(a)(1) In this section the following words have the meanings indicated.
(2) “Dangerous dog” means a dog that:
(i) without provocation has killed or inflicted severe injury on a person; or
(ii) is determined by the appropriate unit of a county or municipal corporation under subsection (c) of this section to be a potentially dangerous dog and, after the determination is made:
1. bites a person;
2. when not on its owner’s real property, kills or inflicts severe injury on a domestic animal; or
3. attacks without provocation.
(3)(i) “Owner’s real property” means real property owned or leased by the owner of a dog.
(ii) “Owner’s real property” does not include a public right-of-way or a common area of a condominium, apartment complex, or townhouse development.
(4) “Severe injury” means a physical injury that results in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations requiring multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery.
(b) This section does not apply to a dog owned by and working for a governmental or law enforcement unit.
Determination of potentially dangerous dog
(c) An appropriate unit of a county or municipal corporation may determine that a dog is potentially dangerous if the unit:
(1) finds that the dog:
(i) has inflicted a bite on a person while on public or private real property;
(ii) when not on its owner’s real property, has killed or inflicted severe injury on a domestic animal; or
(iii) has attacked without provocation; and
(2) notifies the dog owner in writing of the reasons for this determination.
(d) A dog owner may not:
(1) leave a dangerous dog unattended on the owner’s real property unless the dog is:
(i) confined indoors;
(ii) in a securely enclosed and locked pen; or
(iii) in another structure designed to restrain the dog; or
(2) allow a dangerous dog to leave the owner’s real property unless the dog is leashed and muzzled, or is otherwise securely restrained and muzzled.
(e) An owner of a dangerous dog or potentially dangerous dog who sells or gives the dog to another shall notify in writing:
(1) the authority that made the determination under subsection (c) of this section, of the name and address of the new owner of the dog; and
(2) the person taking possession of the dog, of the dangerous behavior or potentially dangerous behavior of the dog.
(f) A person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and on conviction is subject to a fine not exceeding $2,500
Statistically, nearly five million people in the United States are injured every year from a dog attack. Many of these victims are children 10 years of age or younger.
800,000 dog attacks each year result in injuries needing medical care, with about 6,000 victims requiring hospitalization.
The personal injury law firm of Lebowitz and Mzhen represents persons who have been attacked by a dog in Maryland and the Washington D.C. area. Contact Lebowitz and Mzhen today for your free consultation.
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