Articles Posted in Dog Bites

Maryland has a comprehensive dog bite statute that imposes strict liability on dog owners for injuries caused by their pets, regardless of the breed. However, there are certain exceptions and nuances to this law, particularly concerning pit bulls.

Maryland’s Dog Bite Statute

Maryland’s dog bite law is codified in Section 3-1901 of the Courts and Judicial Proceedings Code. This statute establishes strict liability for dog owners, meaning they can be held responsible for injuries caused by their dogs without the need to prove negligence or prior knowledge of the animal’s vicious propensities.

Our law firm recently handled a serious dog attack on a young child in Pennsylvania. Each jurisdiction we encounter throughout the mid-atlantic region has different variances on the owner of a dog that causes personal injury. Pennsylvania law is slightly different than Maryland.

The Pennsylvania Code contains the regulations pertaining to dogs. Dog Laws are codified in Title 3, Chapter 8, of the Pennsylvania Code. The portion of the dog laws pertaining to dangerous dogs is codified in 3 P.S. § 459-501-A through § 459-507-A.
Under Pennsylvania Dog Law, the owner/keeper of any dog is required at all times to keep the dog either :
1. Confined within the premises of the owner
2. Firmly secured by means of a collar and chain or other device so that it cannot stray beyond the premises on which it is secured; or
3. Under the reasonable control of some person Pennsylvania Dog Law is the standard for determining whether a person has complied with the duty to exercise ordinary care. Unexcused violations constitute negligence per se. However, a violation of the Dog Law does not establish the necessary causation for a finding of liability. Liability does not attach unless the violation is a substantial factor is bringing about the injuries sustained. Villaume v. Kaufman, 379 Pa. Super. 561, 550 A.2d 793 (1988), aff’g Miller v. Hurst, 302 Pa. Super. 235, 448 A.2d 614 (1982).
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