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Risky dogs

Posted: September 26, 2013 9:04 a.m.
Updated: September 27, 2013 5:00 a.m.

Insurance companies in the United States are, in increasing numbers, cancelling the homeowners’ policies of people who keep aggressive breeds of dogs. Industry statistics say that about one-third of insurance claims arise from dog bites, and companies are starting to tell people they won’t insure them if they insist on having breeds that are known for their volatile nature. We don’t blame the companies.

A small number of breeds -- dogs such as pit bulls, Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers -- are responsible for a disproportionate share of attacks. Their owners almost always react with surprise, saying they had always known their dogs to be docile and friendly. But some breeds have aggression bred into them for generations, and they are unpredictable. People have a right to own the dogs they wish, but they must understand there are consequences.

Right here in the Midlands of South Carolina, there have been several recent incidents of dog attacks, almost all of them involving breeds that have an aggressive nature. The victims sometimes suffer life-changing injuries or even death. These dogs present higher-than-normal risks for homeowners, and insurance companies are not wrong in refusing to ensure their owners.

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