Pit bulls are a heavy-set, large breed dog banned in many parts of North America, including in Maryland. Pit bulls come in many different colors. They are very thick-looking dogs with short, cropped ears. The laws banning pit bulls sometimes affect other dogs that look like pit bulls, and pit bull owners can have their dogs taken away and euthanized if authorities catch them or deem them dangerous.
In Maryland, only one county with breed-specific legislation bans pit bulls. That is Prince George's County, which encompasses over 40 different towns, a few being Adelphia, Bowie, Capital Heights, Eagle Harbor, Forest Heights, Morningside and Woodmore. Exceptions to this may only include dogs that work for the county, such as police dogs, fire dogs and security dogs.
The Prince George County pit bull ban in Maryland encompasses several different types of dogs: the Staffordshire bull terrier, the American Shaffordshire terrier and the American pit bull terrier. The pit bull ban legislation also covers dogs that merely look like they are mostly one of these breeds, exhibit physical traits matching one of those breeds more than any other, as well as any dog that was ever registered as a pit bull terrier.
People face different penalties for violating the pit bull ban. Someone found to have a pit bull or pit bull type dog can face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. If someone has a pit bull type dog that injures or kills a person or pet, the owner can be fined up to $1,000 and face up to six months in jail, while the dog will be put down.
People who already owned pit bulls before the ban was enacted in November of 1996 had their pit bulls grandfathered, which means that they got to keep them despite the new ban. Authorities put specific conditions upon these pit bull owners, including that they had to register and tag their dog, pay an annual fee of $50 to Animal Control and keep the dog in a secure kennel or building or on a secure leash.