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Md. House votes for dog-bite liability measure

ANNAPOLIS — All Maryland dog owners would be liable for their pets if they bite someone, but owners would have a chance to rebut a presumption of liability in court, under a bill that has been passed by the Maryland General Assembly.

The House of Delegates gave final approval to a Senate bill on Thursday. It now goes to Gov. Martin O’Malley.

The measure addresses a 2012 ruling by Maryland’s highest court that established pit bulls as an “inherently dangerous” breed. That made pit bull owners and landlords strictly liable for bites.

The bill would apply to all dogs and hold owners liable. It would be up to a jury to decide if an owner is able to rebut a presumption that the owner should have known the dog was dangerous.