Does Maryland Have Leash Laws?
Dogs are a lovely addition to a family. They’re loving and loyal and they can bring lots of joy. However, well-adjusted dogs are usually the result of good owners. Owners need to train and properly monitor their dogs if they’re to be on their best behavior. While many owners do everything they can to care for their animals, not all do. When a dog doesn’t get the care and attention it needs, anyone who comes into the contact with it is at the risk for a dog bite injury. Dogs can cause tremendous harm when they attack. They can break bones and tear flesh, tendons, and muscles. Victims often take a long time to recover and in some cases, they suffer long-term or permanent injuries. In the worst cases, victims die. In many cases, the dog owner can be held responsible. They may have broken the law. However, you need to discuss your case with a Maryland dog bite lawyer. Animal control laws vary by locality, so you need a legal expert to help you get compensation.
Leash Laws in MarylandLeash laws require owners to keep dogs and other pets on a leash when they are in public. The laws are different in each state. Some states, like Maryland, don’t have statewide regulations. Instead, counties have the power to make their own leash laws. For example, in Montgomery County, a dog is considered at-large if it is away from the owner’s premises and not on a leash. Exceptions are service dogs, dogs in designated exercise areas, and those participating in approved activities. The common area of a condo, cooperative or homeowner's association is not considered the owner's premises. In Baltimore County, all dogs and cats must be on a leash when they are off the owner’s property. If they are chained outside, they must be on a swivel. Meanwhile, in Prince George's County, it’s illegal for the owner or custodian of any animal to allow it to run at-large. These are just some of the laws governing the control of dogs in Maryland. If you get bitten by a dog, you need to contact a Maryland dog bite attorney. They will identify the jurisdiction in which the attack occurred and look into the applicable laws.
How Maryland’s Dog Bite Laws May Affect Your Dog Bite Injury CaseDespite the differences in county laws, owners can often be held responsible if their dog bites someone. In Maryland, dogs don’t need to have a history of violence for the owner to be held liable. The dog simply needs to be off the owner’s premises without restraint or not under the control of the owner. In some situations, you may need to prove the owner was somehow negligent. This applies if you were bitten by a dog that was on a leash, on the owner’s property or controlled in another way. However, if the dog had a history of violence, it will be presumed that the owner was aware or should have been aware of this. Another thing that you need to consider is Maryland’s contributory negligence rule. If your behavior caused the dog to attack you, you may not be entitled to damages. Even the slightest amount of fault can bar you from getting compensation. The owner may argue that you were:
- Trespassing on their property
- Committing a crime or attempting to commit a crime on their property
- Committing a crime against another person or attempting to do so
- Ignoring warnings to stay away from the dog
- Antagonizing the dog in some way