Pet News and Views has turned into a forum for Pit Bull defenders. It all started when I heard from my friend, Holly, who is purchasing her first home. She told me that if she gets a Pit Bull, she can’t afford the homeowner’s insurance. So, I posted her story and a story about Pit Bull myths, and I heard from a lot of home insurance agents and Pit Bull lovers.
States that Require Liability Insurance
These states and the District of Columbia require owners of dogs determined to be dangerous or vicious or in some cases, potentially dangerous, to obtain substantial liability insurance policies:
This info was supplied to me by Laura Allen, attorney who writes the blog Animal Law Coalition. On her site is a link to states that prohibit breed discrimination. She also has a Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) Watch Forum.
Ohio and Pit Bulls
One of the toughest states for Pit Bull owners is Ohio. According to another friend, Mary O’Connor-Shaver of Columbus Top Dogs and Ban Ohio Dog Auctions, “Ohio law mandates that anyone who owns a Pit Bull-type companion to have at least $100,000 in liability insurance that would provide coverage if their companion would cause damage to a person’s body or a person’s death.”
Mary suggested that proof of obedience training or other specialized training is helpful because it demonstrates the responsibility of the owner.
Ways to Get Insurance If you have a Pit Bull
A number of home insurance agents recognize the Canine Good Citizen certificate. “I have been approached by a couple of insurance agents whose companies are not issuing homeowners policies to owners of certain breeds,” says Chris Hamer, a certified dog behavior counselor and a Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. “Some of the targeted breeds are Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Dobermans. Some agencies legislate by weight or size. The only good news in all of this is that the agents that I talked with said they will issue policies if the dog has earned its Canine Good Citizen certification.”
Chris, who is the education chairperson at International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and author of the book Parenting with Pets, the Magic of Raising Children with Animals, explains that in order to get a Canine Good Citizen certificate the dog must show that it is comfortable and friendly with strangers, understands obedience commands, can be in public, and is not jumping on people or other dogs. The dog cannot show any signs of aggression or it is disqualified. The dog must be okay with both loud noises and visual distractions.
Canine Good Citizen programs are run by AKC (American Kennel Club). Other dog training programs may work as well. You just have to talk to your insurance agent.