In your family, dogs play an important role as guards, companions, and friends. Unfortunately, this partnership between man and dog is not without problems. Many of us have an unfair opinion that only Dobermans, Rottweilers, Pit Bulls and German Shepherds are responsible for these attacks. But that is not the case. All breeds, large or small can attack if provoked. In Fact, many of the bites come from smaller dogs that lead us to conclude that any dog can be defined as a “dangerous dog”.
It’s your responsibility as the dog’s owner to make sure your pet is trained, socialized and you are prepared financially in case your dog does bite someone. Typically, an innocent dog bite is covered by your homeowners policy, but these waters can get murky as some people have been known to report that the dog attacked them on purpose, in which case your insurance may not cover the attack. But why wait for the attack to happen when you can prevent it?
With the close association of dogs and humans in daily life (largely as pets), dog attacks – with injuries from very minor to significant – are common. Attacks may be triggered by behaviors that are perceived as an attack. For example, a sudden unexpected approach or touch by a stranger, inadvertently stepping on any portion of the dog’s anatomy (paw or tail) or startling a sleeping dog unexpectedly could lead to an attack. In particular, the territory that a dog recognizes as its own may not coincide with the property lines that its owner and the legal authorities recognize, such as a portion of a neighbor’s backyard. Your homeowners insurance should cover an accidental bite but why take the risk?
There are many factors that play a role when assigning a “danger” level to a dog. Consequently, it’s unfair to callously label a breed of dog as dangerous but nevertheless, it can’t be helped that some dog breeds have more potential to cause serious harm to a person if the dog were to attack. Most incidents involving dogs stem from improper training and harsh ownership. There are 5 million dog bites in America every year and more than half of them happen to children. The reason they happen to children is because children and dogs are about the same size (or the dog is larger). A dog can be intimidated by the physical size of an adult, but not by a child. Dogs are animals, and even the best animals can act in unpredictable ways for unknown reasons.
To protect your child against dog bites:
- You should NEVER leave an infant, toddler or child alone with the family dog or a friend’s dog, even if the dog is “as gentle as a lamb” and “loves children”. It does not matter if the dog is large or small. It does not matter what breed the dog is. Even if you are in the room, a baby or toddler should NEVER be left on the floor in the same room with any dog.
- If you are playing or walking in an area with your child and a dog approaches, you should pick up your child and leave the area, if warranted.
- You should train your child to never walk up to and pat any dog on a leash, or any strange dog not on a leash. The child should always ask the owner’s permission before approaching any dog.Curious to whether your homeowners insurance would cover a bog bite? Contact an Insurance Architect to review your coverage and ensure you’re coveraged!