Maryland Dog Bite Laws and You
Category: Maryland Personal Injury
December 13, 2018
If you have a dog in the state of Maryland, you know that they shouldn’t bite anyone. Keeping your beloved pet in check is a serious responsibility and the consequences for failure can be dire. Today we’re going to take a look at the dog bite laws in Maryland and how they can affect your pet.
What Are the Laws?
Recently, Maryland’s dog bite laws had a bit of a revamp. Though the state used to go by the “One Bite” Rule, this is no longer the case. The Code of Maryland section 3 – 1901 dictates that dog owners are responsible for damages caused by their dog regardless of the dog’s previous behavior, breed, age, etc. If your dog bites someone, you are responsible for that injury.
However, there are a few circumstances where this may not be the case. For example, if the victim of the bite provoked the dog, trespassed on the dog owner’s property, or committed a crime in view of the dog, then there may be potential for a defensive argument.
Know the Signs of Dog Aggression
Even if your dog has been an angel all their life, savvy dog owners know that any dog can bite. Whether you have a dog or not, you should know the signs that a dog is about to lash out. This is important for the safety of your friends, your family, your pet, and yourself.
A dog will display a few different kinds of behaviors before they bite. The fur on their back may raise up. Their body may be tight and rigid. Growling, barking, and showing their teeth are all pretty clear signs as well. One sign that may not be obvious is a wagging tail. Most people know that a wagging tail means that a dog is happy, but this is not always the case. A wagging tail can mean that a dog is anxious as well. The other sign that you should look for is called “whale eye”. Whale eye is when a dog looks at you through the corner of their eye. You will be able to see a good deal of white and you should definitely back off.
What Can You Do When a Dog Attacks?
When a dog attacks you, you should avoid two things. Avoid screaming and avoid running. Screaming may agitate the dog further and running will activate their hunting instincts. It’s highly unlikely that you will outrun a dog; don’t give them a reason to chase you.
If at all possible, you should give them something to bite that isn’t you like a coat sleeve or a stick. Once the dog latches onto something else, back away slowly. In the event that the dog latches on to you in some way, then you should call for help in a deep, strong voice. Again, avoid screaming if at all possible.
Were You Bitten By a Dog?
If you’ve been bitten by a dog in Maryland, then you need a lawyer to help make good on your injuries. We can help you get the compensation you deserve for your damages, so contact us today for more information.