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Bipartisan Task Force In Annapolis To Debate Court Ruling Concerning Pit Bulls

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)– The decision to label pit bulls dangerous in Maryland has many dog owners angry. Now, lawmakers are looking into the controversial ruling.

Gigi Barnett explains the plans to address the concerns.

Pit bull owners say the ruling amounts to discrimination against their pets but victims say they just want more protection against the breed. Now, it’s time for lawmakers to weigh in.

Maryland’s highest court ruled that pit bulls and pit bull mixes are “inherently dangerous.”

The decision came last month. But dog owners soon fired back rallying on the State House steps calling their pets “harmless.”

“A lot of them are just so sweet,” one pit bull owner said.

Now, state lawmakers are adding to the debate with a bipartisan task force designed to weigh the consequences of the court’s decision and what it means for owners, victims and, ultimately, pit bulls.

“What I’m seeing right now is the shelters are overrun with pit bulls,” Sen. Lisa Gladden, D-Baltimore City, said.

Gladden is on the task force. She says they’ll look at everything including what other states are doing to reign in pit bulls.

“In some counties in Florida, they outlaw the ownership of pit bulls. I think that’s too much. But, I think the owners– if they love their dogs– they would take any kind of training class,” she said.

Under the court’s ruling, dog owners are much more liable if their pit bulls attack. That’s because a victim doesn’t need to prove that the dog has bitten before.

Delegate Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore City), who is also on the 10-member panel, says the ruling is causing some landlords to evict pit bull owners and he’s concerned where that leaves the dogs.

“Thousands of pit bulls may be put to sleep because of this ruling, so we’ve got to come up with a decision because it’s important to a very large segment of people who live in the state of Maryland,” he said.

Lawmakers have tried before to create laws that would address the court’s ruling. Meanwhile, the special panel says it will wrap up its work before the special session on July 9.

Three of the five delegates on the task force introduced bills during this month’s special session to overturn the court’s decision.

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