Dog bites or attacks can cause serious injuries. In many instances, the victim may have recourse against a negligent pet owner. In an October 16, 2019 case, the Court of Special Appeals reviewed a Maryland personal injury negligence claim brought by a plaintiff who suffered injuries as a result of a dog attack. When her claims were dismissed by the circuit court on summary judgment, she brought an appeal.
The plaintiff in the case was reportedly attacked right outside of her home by a pit bull. The dog was owned by the son of one of the tenants in a nearby housing complex. The dog owner did not reside in the housing complex, but frequently stayed with his mother for varying periods of time. Although the housing complex prohibited dogs on the property without written consent, the tenant allowed her son to bring dogs with him when he visited her. Following the dog attack, the plaintiff filed a negligence suit against the owner of the housing development.
In Maryland, to hold a landlord responsible for injuries sustained from an attack by a dog owned by a tenant, the plaintiff has the burden to prove that the landlord: (1) had control over the dog’s presence at the property; (2) was aware of the presence of the dog at the property; and (3) was aware that the dog had vicious propensities.