SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – A major insurance company is dropping coverage for dog bites. Farmer's Insurance is notifying policy holders in California that dog bites by Rottweilers, pit bulls or wolf breeds will no longer be covered under their homeowners insurance.
Farmers Group, Inc. says the three breeds account for more than 25% of dog bite claims.
ABC 4 News contacted a Farmers Insurance agent in Salt Lake City and they said while Utah isn’t implementing these changes they do ask homeowners if they have a dog that’s listed under the dangerous dog breeds and whether it’s bit before.
The Humane Society of Utah says pit bulls get a bad rap.
Carl Arky, Director of Communication for the Humane Society said, "We don't believe we have animal problems we have people problems."
If animals are spayed and neutered, properly trained and not left tethered for too long Arky says they won't be bad dogs.
"A lot of times the problems people have with dogs has nothing to do with…it's not usually a family dog. It's usually a dog that's been isolated,” explained Arky. “Maybe owned by someone but not treated as a member of the family."
Across the US insurance companies paid out $480 million to people who were attacked by dogs in 2011; a 50% rise in eight years.
Still the move by Farmer's has drawn criticism from trainers and rescue groups for discriminating against dogs even if they've never proved to be dangerous.
Arky said, "Some insurance companies will have a one bite rule where if a dog bites once they'll cover it, if it happens again then they won't.”