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Pit bull task force will reconvene, lawmaker says

An American pit bull terrier. (Photo: Dante Alighieri)

A task force that studied possible solutions to a liability problem created by a Maryland high court ruling that called pit bulls “inherently dangerous” will be reconvened, a state lawmaker said.

Del. Michael D. Smigiel Sr., R-Upper Shore, said Thursday the task force that met several times over the summer will start meeting again after the General Assembly could not reconcile differences between Senate and House of Delegates versions of the legislation passed during the gambling-focused August special session.

“The pit bull task force will be called back in for some further review,” Smigiel said. “They’re looking at doing something that’s more in line with what [Sen. Brian E.] Frosh wanted.”

The bill passed in the Senate and championed by Frosh made all dog owners strictly liable if their dog bit someone, with some exceptions. But the House version drastically narrowed Frosh’s legislation, making owners liable only if a dog was running “at large.”

The House adjourned after passing the amended bill and legislation that could expand casino gambling in Maryland, giving the Senate two take-it-or-leave-it options. Frosh chose to leave the pit bull bill.

Since then, a lawsuit has been filed calling the Court of Appeals’ April ruling unconstitutional.