Universal Property and Casualty Insurance Company is cancelling policies if they believe that you have a dog that is at least 50% of the following breeds:
If you have a dog that even looks like one of these breeds, they will cancel due to ineligible breed, unless you can have your veterinarian produce documentation stating otherwise. That documentation is in the form of DNA testing at a cost upwards of $300. Insurance companies and their property inspectors should have training on how to spot a dangerous animal, and not ban animals based on their breed which has little to do with how they were raised. We are asking that they use the Canine Good Citizen Certification that is run by the AKC or a similar program.
The CDC strongly recommends against breed-specific laws in its oft-cited study of fatal dog attacks, noting that data collection related to bites by breed is fraught with potential sources of error (Sacks et al., 2000). Specifically, the authors of this and other studies cite the inherent difficulties in breed identification (especially among mixed-breed dogs) and in calculating a breed’s bite rate given the lack of consistent data on breed population and the actual number of bites occurring in a community, especially when the injury is not deemed serious enough to require treatment in an emergency room (Sacks et al., 2000; AVMA, 2001; Collier, 2006). Supporting the concern regarding identification, a recent study noted a significant discrepancy between visual determination of breed and DNA determination of breed (Voith et al., 2009).
Dog bite statistics
An estimated 4.7 million dog bites occur in the U.S. each year.
Nearly 800,000 dog bites require medical care.
Approximately 92% of fatal dog attacks involved male dogs, 94% of which were not neutered
Approximately 25% of fatal dog attacks involved chained dogs
Approximately 71% of bites occur to the extremities (arms, legs, hands, feet)
Approximately two-thirds of bites occurred on or near the victim’s property, and most victims knew the dog
The insurance industry pays more than $1 billion in dog-bite claims each year
At least 25 different breeds of dogs have been involved in the 238 dog-bite-related fatalities in the U.S.
Approximately 24% of human deaths involved unrestrained dogs off of their owners’ property
Approximately 58% of human deaths involved unrestrained dogs on their owners’ property
Breed-specific legislation (BSL)
In response to these statistics, many communities have enacted breed-specific legislation (BSL) that prohibits ownership of certain breeds, such as pit bulls, Rottweilers and others.
Any breed of dog can bite, and research suggests BSL does little to protect the community from dog-bite incidents.
In fact, BSL can often have unintended consequences -- such as black-market interest and indiscriminant breeding practices -- resulting in subsequent breed overpopulation that leads to increases in the number of homeless, stray and euthanized dogs.
Enforcement of BSL has been shown to be very costly and extremely difficult to enforce. One county in Maryland spent more than $560,000 maintaining pit bulls (not including payroll, cross-agency costs and utilities), while fees generated only $35,000.
Responsible breeding and ownership, public education and enforcement of existing laws are the most effective ways of reducing dog bites.
American Humane supports local legislation to protect communities from dangerous animals, but does not advocate laws that target specific breeds of dogs.