The Liabilities of Owning a Dog

The Liabilities of Owning a Dog

In the U.S. there are an estimated 60 million dogs. While dogs make great companions, nearly two million people are bitten by dogs each year with around 800,000 persons getting professional medical treatment for their wounds. Each of these incidents is a potential lawsuit.

If you have homeowners insurance and you own a pet, the liability section of your policy provides protection for bodily injury losses arising from pet ownership. However many insurance companies will not insure against dog bites for certain breeds that are considered aggressive such as pitbulls, german shepherds, rottweilers and doberman pinschers. Check with your insurance agent to find out which breeds your insurer provides coverage for.

Your homeowners insurance covers persons who have custody of your pet. However your policy won't cover businesses that may have custody of your pet such as kennels, obedience schools, groomers and professional sitters or walking services (they should carry their own coverage).

As a pet owner you have a responsibility to raise and handle your dogs in a manner that reduces the chance of a loss. Steps to take include becoming knowledgeable about general principles of ownership and care, and take advantage of resources available to you from animal shelters, dog ownership clubs such as the AKC, dog trainers, animal behaviorists and many informative internet sites.