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Animal bites: Insurance may be denied to owners of certain breeds

Many Wisconsin residents and others around the country have pets in their homes. These pets are often loved as part of the family. However, a recent trend among insurance providers may cause some pet owners to rethink keeping some breeds in their homes. Because of potential liability from animal bites, some companies are denying homeowners' insurance to families with certain dogs.

Industry experts report that coverage can be limited or denied when someone owns a dog that is considered to be high risk. Some statistics show that over one-third of all homeowners' liability claims are related to dog bites. This has propelled the industry to create a list of high-risk breeds. Pit bulls top the list, followed by Doberman pinschers, Rottweilers and German shepherds. Other breeds listed included Great Danes, Siberian huskies and malamutes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 4.5 million dog bites occur in the country each year. Statistics show that almost 400 deaths have occurred from dog bites since 2005. The American Veterinary Medical Foundation reports that the majority of dog bite deaths are those of children. Authorities note that there are certain breeds, such as pit bulls and Rottweilers, that are involved in many of the fatalities.

Injuries from animal bites, particularly those from certain dogs, can be very serious, even fatal. If injury or death has occurred following a dog bite, family members may choose to file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. It is important to note that in a strict liability state like Wisconsin, a dog owner is liable for a pet's actions even if it has never exhibited aggressive behavior in the past. Successful litigation would provide compensation for hospital bills, funeral expenses, therapy costs or other expenditures. A Wisconsin personal injury attorney can provide assistance to families in this situation.

Source:, "These Are the Riskiest Dog Breeds for People to Own", Zachary Stieber, Jan. 4, 2018

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