Shelter Hopes New Pit Bull Law Encourages Adoption of the Breed

- FREDERICK, Md. - A Maryland animal shelter hopes a law that Governor Martin O'Malley signed this month will get more pit bulls adopted and help reduce discrimination against the breed.

Nino is one of several Pit Bulls waiting to get adopted at the Frederick County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center.

Those at the shelter say a Maryland Court of Appeal's 2012 ruling calling all pit bulls "inherently dangerous" has made it harder for dogs like Nino to get adopted.

"It caused concern, and we also know nationally, some jurisdictions continue to have a ban on owning and having pit bulls in their jurisdiction," said Harold Domer, director of Frederick County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center.

However, things have changed in Maryland. O'Malley signed a new law reversing the court's decision.

"Hopefully it will encourage people to adopt them and to understand that it really is not a breed issue. Biting becomes an issue of good ownership," said Linda Shea, kennel supervisor at Frederick County Animal Control and Pet Adoption Center.

Adah is a five-month-old Pit Bull waiting for her forever home at the shelter. Those at the shelter hope the new law can get Adah and other Pit Bulls here adopted.

"Pit Bulls, American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire, all those dogs are great dogs when properly socialized," Domer said. "I think finally the legislators got it right with regards to going after the behavior of the dog, whatever type of dog it is, if it is an unprovoked bite."

The new law doesn't single out any breed of dog and makes owners of all breeds liable for dog bites. This is something those at the shelter hope can reduce the stigma some people have of Pit Bulls.

"That's going to be an ongoing challenge I think to remove that stigma that's already associated with the breed," Shea said. "It's an ongoing challenge to educate people to have them understand that it's not a breed things. It's a responsible ownership thing."

"I hope it gives them a chance because I think with many dogs, that's all they need is a chance," Domer said.

It's a chance dogs like Nino and Adah hope comes for them as they wait for their second leash in life.

The new law went into effect immediately. You can read it by clicking here.

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