ANIMAL WATCH - As insurance rates rise, across the nation, Pit Bull-advocate lobbyists from America’s leading animal-welfare organizations; including Best Friends Animal Society, are lobbying before State legislatures for laws which forbid any “discrimination” against Pit Bulls and other dangerous dog breeds in local public housing or where tenants receive public assistance to pay rent.
This results in the building owner and everyone in the country being forced to pay increased premiums for home, health, and other insurance to cover the costs to insure them all.
An Insurance Journal Report in April 2022 announced, Dog-Related Claims Cost U.S. Home Insurers Nearly $900M in 2021, states:
Dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners liability claim dollars paid out in 2021, costing $881 million, according to an analysis by the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) and State Farm.
It adds, “…there was a steep increase (39 percent) in cost per claim over the past 10 years, according to the analysis.”
ANYONE CAN BECOME A VICTIM AT ANY TIME
Many Pit Bull victims never see the dog before it attacks. They have not provoked or harmed it nor “challenged” it. And, increasingly, this breed is attacking its longtime owner(s) or another family member. Pit Bulls will also rip fences to kill a passing dog or a cat resting on a porch) or, too often, a child on a bicycle.
However, even if you don’t own a Pit Bull, if you pay for any insurance—including homeowners/renters’ liability, or health care--or are insured under any employer’s plan, the rates are going up and/or services included are decreasing.
And, due to the overall increasing costs to the companies for medical care for dog bites, and for the often-successful lawsuits and increasingly generous rewards to victims who have been permanently disfigured (physically or emotionally), all “insureds” of the company pay that bill.
WHY PIT BULL ATTACKS ARE MORE SEVERE THAN OTHERS
Pit Bulls grab, shake and tear the flesh of victims, with the intention to critically injure, disable or kill. This is not an “assumption.” The purpose of this breed was originally--and still is in many communities and in organized local and international rings--dog fighting. (Remember Michael Vick?)
Those who profess before lawmakers that “training” is the key to Pit Bull disposition—not genetics--refute the American Kennel Club’s claims that the reason to buy a purebred puppy is to insure the traits demonstrated in behavior are transmitted through the bloodlines of the parents.
For instance, Pits will point in a certain position toward prey or something important and herding dogs will keep animals (or children) in a group by nipping their heels-No Training Required!
This intrinsic and automatic behavior is also relative to Pit Bulls and the reason their attacks are often unpredictable and inflict severe or lethal damage. The genetic impulse to disable or kill is not taught—it comes with the breed-type.
STATE LAWS DO NOT ALLOW KNOWN RISKS—OTHER THAN PIT BULLS
There are many laws in states across the nation that punish producing/allowing known risks. This is demonstrated in the immediate actions to recall childrens’ car seats upon (even a few) reports of malfunction. Any food product where illness is reported from ingestion is subject to immediate recall and the topic of national media broadcasts.
Why does this not apply to Pit Bulls, based upon law-enforcement and medical statistics?
WHY CAN’T DOG BREEDS BE RESTRICTED?
Why is one dog breed, which has a proven rate of attack far beyond others, not only allowed without protective restrictions, but in some jurisdictions guaranteed the right to be owned and taken into public areas or kept in public housing?
This week the Minnesota legislature heard arguments from both sides regarding a bill to prohibit possession of dangerous breeds—including Pit Bulls—in government-subsidized rentals. ((See HB832 MN hearing here.)
This assumes tenants have low-incomes and need assistance to provide housing, but that they don’t deserve the same protections as a privately owned building where there are restrictions on either dog-breed or where the dog is not allowed in shared/public areas.
UNFAIR TO TENANTS AND LANDLORDS
Several assumption are made that are unfair to all tenants. One is that all dogs are the same—all make good pets and good neighbors.
It also infers that low-income families or persons of certain economic or ethnic/racial origin want these dogs enough for the government to declare them a “right.” This has serious discriminatory undertones that are inappropriate.
Have the advocates done a nationwide poll of what type of environment low-income families want and whether they want a Pit Bull living next door, especially without a separate yard or restrictions?
A reality is that the building owner, who provides insurance for residents and non-residents while on the property will be liable for any injuries/deaths occurring on the premises.
Experts estimate at least 850,000 people in the U.S. require medical attention each year for dog bites.
Advocates claim that the dog must be judged by behavior, not by breed. However, the only way to judge behavior occurs AFTER an attack which may maim or kill a human or another pet.
HERE ARE STATISTICS
American Pit Bull Terrier
It is unknown how many assaults go unreported.
THE PIT BULL LOBBY – WHY PROMOTE ONLY PIT BULLS?
The national effort to REQUIRE that Pit Bulls be allowed in public housing or that there are no restriction on Pit Bulls has passed in some areas after personal advocacy by major humane groups in many states, and has added a tremendous burden in increased insurance costs on everyone.
It assumes that everyone has the right to possess any dog if the government is paying or helping to pay their rent. Why are dogs even an issue for the legislature? This has always been a matter of local governance and animal control ordinances.
It is time for the IRS to investigate the advocacy of major tax-exempt non-profit, donation-based organizations lobbying and dictating dangerous-dog policies locally and across the nation. They receive millions of dollars a year to “save” lives, not to regulate the housing industry. And, exactly how much donated money is being directed to this effort?
Insurance companies are paid in some way by every person in this nation. We should not become the victims of higher rates or decreased services to bear the financial burden of a breed of animal that is a proven threat to safety.
(Phyllis M. Daugherty is a former Los Angeles City employee, an animal activist and a contributor to CityWatch.)