Many Maryland residents are being forced to choose between keeping their beloved pit bull or keeping their home thanks to a new state law.
Last week, the Maryland Court of Appeals upheld an April decision to make landlords liable for violent pit bulls in their tenant’s care. Since then, many apartment owners have been giving notice to residents that they’ll soon have to make a decision: either to let Fido go, or face possible eviction.
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Pit bull owners aren’t happy about the situation. “I was afraid I’m going to have to give up my babies,” Rita Masters told CBS. Several have teamed up with animal groups to defend the ruling.
It has also affected the state’s local animal shelters. The Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter reportedly that more than 30 dogs had been turned in because of the ruling. “These people really have no other option and they’re really, really upset about getting rid of their dogs,” Jennifer Brause, the executive director of the organization, told CBS. ”They’re great pet owners.”
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Another Maryland resident, James Sheeler, summed up his feelings perfectly: “I shouldn’t have to get rid of my dog or choose either between my dog and a place to live.”
Maryland is reportedly the only state that enforces owners to be liable for the actions of a singular dog breed.
Erica Ho is a contributor at TIME and the editor of Map Happy. Find her on Twitter at @ericamho and Google+. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.