Society

Having A 'Dangerous Dog' Will Cost You

| by Phyllis M Daugherty
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The city of Ormond Beach, Florida, made an important decision on Tuesday night in favor of safeguarding its residents—two- and four-legged—from dog attacks. The City Commission voted to require $100,000 insurance coverage for anyone wishing to keep a dog after it has been declared dangerous, MyNews 13 reports.

Ormond Beach, which is just north of Daytona, considers a dog dangerous after it has attacked a human once or another domestic animal more than twice.

The previous insurance coverage requirement of the city was only $1,000. Commissioner Troy Kent stated: “We found out that whenever a dangerous dog attacks somebody, the average medical bill is right around $40,000. So, $1,000 doesn't touch what's needed.

"If they don't have it, they have to get rid of the dog, or they'd have to leave our community," Kent said. City leaders want to make sure homeowners' medical bills are covered if attacked by a dog, he told MyNews 13.

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According to Stacey Cohen with Consumer Affairs.com, other areas are looking at similar legislation. A homeowner’s policy is often not enough to cover the costs of a serious dog attack resulting in major injuries, she says.

Also adding to the considerations if you wish to keep a dog that has been involved in an attack is the fact that insurance companies are increasingly excluding breeds considered dangerous.

It may be advisable to buy an "umbrella" policy, which basically covers everything not covered by other policies, Cohen recommends. However, many insurance companies are excluding dangerous breeds from those policies too.

Merritt Clifton of Animals 24-7, in a 2014 editorial entitled, "32 Years of Logging Fatal & Disfiguring Dog Attacks," provides detailed charts of the breeds that are responsible for the most attacks. He states, “Of the 210 fatal dog attacks occurring since January 1, 2010, 138––66%––have been inflicted by pit bulls.”

Laws as to what acts can place a dog in the category of “dangerous” vary by state and from one city to another, advises the law firm Wood, Atter, and Wolf, P.A. The trend is clearly towards harsh penalties and escalating liability for vicious dogs and their owners, according to ConsumerAffairs.com, so it might pay to check out the statistics on various breeds before adopting or purchasing a new pet.

Dog owners are often governed by their hearts, rather than the reality of the potential for repeated attacks if their dog has bitten someone or shows unprovoked aggression toward other animals or humans. If you decide to keep a dog that has been declared “dangerous,” be sure you can afford to maintain the animal in a manner that assures it cannot escape. 

Not only do you not want the monetary and legal headaches of an attack, but you do not want to risk having to live with the fact that your pet was the cause of someone losing their beloved pet---or, in a worst-case scenario, a dangerous dog may cause the death of a human and you could also face criminal charges.

Sources: My News 13, Woodatter, Animals 24-7, Consumer Affairs / Photo Credit: Provided, YouTube