Maryland Laws Concerning Dog Bites
As a dog owner or someone who has been injured by a dog, understanding the law in Maryland concerning dog bites is extremely important. Maryland does not distinguish between or single out different breeds of dogs but some local jurisdictions and municipalities may have distinct ordinances.
If your dog injures someone, it is presumed that you knew or should have known that your dog was dangerous. This presumption may be rebutted and there are a few exceptions to this law, specifically, if the person injured by your dog was (1) trespassing or attempting to trespass on your property or committing a crime or attempting to commit a crime on your property; (2) committing or attempting to commit a criminal offense against someone; or (3) teasing, tormenting, provoking or abusing your dog.
Additionally, there are enhanced penalties for owners of dogs if their dog has already been considered dangerous. A dog is considered dangerous if that dog has already killed or inflicted serious injury on someone without provocation or if it has been deemed and determined dangerous by Animal Control or the local government / municipality unit charged with making those determinations. If you own a dog that has been determined dangerous, there are certain legal requirements that you should understand and must follow.
Landlords may also be held liable for injuries caused by dogs owned by any of their tenants. If the landlord knew that the dog was dangerous and failed to take reasonable steps to protect the tenant, the landlord may be found liable for the tenant’s injuries.
In addition to facing a civil suit, there are also potential criminal penalties facing owners whose dog has attacked a person. So, if you are a dog owner faced with these issues or someone who has been attacked by dog, it is very important that you seek legal counsel to discuss and address these important issues.
If you have been injured by a dog, or own a dog that has injured someone else, Lewicky, O’Connor, Hunt, & Meiser can connect you with an experienced attorney to help navigate the aftermath. Our team is knowledgable on the laws in Maryland concerning dog bites, and will walk you through the legal process. Contact us today at 410-489-1996 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!