Many people think of dogs as their friendly furry companions. Although most dogs are well behaved, others may tend to bite people they don’t know or those they see as a threat. Dog bites and claims have increased in Pennsylvania over the past year. This week marks National Dog Bite Prevention Week, where dog owners are asked to ensure they have taken appropriate precautions to ensure their dogs will not inflict injury to others.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog attacks in Pennsylvania rose by 34 percent last year compared to 2010. In 2011 there were 197 insurance claims in the state, and Allstate insurance ranked Pennsylvania fifth in the nation for the number of dog attack claims. The average pay out for a claim was $30,000.
Insurance claims for dog attacks are also up in the U.S. as a whole. According to the Institute, nationwide there were 29,396 claims in 2011 compared to 26,166 in 2010, an increase of 12 percent.
Those most at risk for attacks by dogs are the elderly and children. By far the dogs most likely to inflict fatal injuries are unneutered males. Over ninety percent of deadly dog attacks involved males, 94 percent of which were not neutered.
To prevent dog attacks, owners should neuter their animals and ensure screen doors and windows are strong enough to hold back determined dogs. Proper obedience training and socialization is also important. Additionally, homeowners should check if their policies include animal attack coverage. One-third of insurance claims paid out last year involved dog bites according to the Institute.
Source: WYTV, “Dog attacks up, Pa. postal workers not surprised.”