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Pit bulls distinguished as inherently dangerous in court

If a recent decision in another state has any sway, Pennsylvania courts may find themselves holding owners and landlords liable in certain personal injury cases. According to the decision from an appellate court in a state bordering Pennsylvania, plaintiffs will no longer have to prove a history of violent behavior in pit bulls.

The breed is perceived by society to be one that is prone to violence and is often focused on during news of dog bites. Because of this, many people have become concerned for their safety around this breed of dog, and the appellate court's ruling underscores this fear. Now, a victim of a dog bite from a pit bull can hold both the owner and the owner's landlord accountable for any emotional or physical damage done, if the dog owner is living on rental property.

This is one of the first cases involving the distinguishing of the pit bull breed and any mixed dogs that have a pit bull lineage by a legal entity. According to the court's decision in April, this breed is inherently dangerous.

Many disagree with this mentality, suggesting that proper socialization of any breed of dog can eliminate any worries of violent behavior. Other breeds of dogs that have been determined to be more likely to bite than others include Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Boxers, Dalmatians, German Shepherds and Huskies.

According to a group that specializes in dog bites, approximately 16,000 people throughout the U.S. seek emergency medical attention due to dog bites each day. Six years ago, nearly two dozen people were killed by dogs. Three years later, more than 30 died. Statistics have shown that a dog bite occurs somewhere in the nation every 75 seconds.

In a recent dog bite, a woman who was five months pregnant was pushed to the ground by a three-year-old pit bull and had her right hand bitten. The injury was minor but she was taken to the hospital out of concern for her unborn child.

Source: Opposing Views, "Pit Bull in San Diego Apt. Complex Bites Pregnant Woman as Courts Debate Landlord Liability," Denise A. Justin, Aug. 3, 2012

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Gregory R. Gifford
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