THUMBS DOWN: Dog Owners Howling at Insurance Companies

Physician's Money Digest, October 2006, Volume 13, Issue 10

Wall Street

Journal

For years insurance companies haverefused to write homeowner's policiesfor families who own certain dogbreeds that are considered dangerous.Now, according to the , animal-welfare organizationsare teaming up with lawmakers to puta ban in place against this insuranceindustry prejudice. Nine states—Kentucky,Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire,New Jersey, New York, Tennessee,Vermont, and Wisconsin—now havebills pending that will block insurancecompanies from denying homeowner'scoverage due to the breed of a dog thatresides in the home. Among "viciousbreeds" that are commonly included oninsurance liability lists are Germanshepherds, Akitas, Siberian huskies,Alaskan malamutes, Chow Chows,Doberman Pinschers, and American pitbull terriers. While the insurance industry'sdisinclination toward these breedsis not unfounded, as 800,000 dog bitesoccur in the United States annually thatare serious enough to require medicalattention, breed advocates stronglystate that these controversial caninesare only as dangerous as the mannerin which they're raised.