Frightening Cost of Dog Bites

As Dog Bite Prevention Week comes to a close, we thought it might be interesting to look at how dog bite claims impact your homeowner’s insurance.

A recent study from State Farm indicates that dog bites are on the rise, and the insurance giant has teamed with dog trainer Victoria Stilwell (from Animal Planet’s It’s Me or the Dog series, to reduce the number of dog bites suffered each year.

State Farm’s study revealed the following 15 states as tops in the nation for the amount spent to treat dog bites.

  1. California 449 claims $14.7 million paid
  2. Illinois 309 claims $8.9 million paid
  3. Ohio 221 claims $4.2 million paid
  4. Texas 207 claims $4.0 million paid
  5. Pennsylvania 180 claims $5.8 million paid
  6. Michigan 162 claims $3.9 million paid
  7. New York 149 claims $6.4 million paid
  8. Indiana 146 claims $3.5 million paid
  9. Minnesota 120 claims $4.0 million paid
  10. Georgia 106 claims $2.1 million paid
  11. Arizona 105 claims $2.8 million paid
  12. Florida 93 claims $5.5 million paid
  13. Oregon 91 claims $1.4 million paid
  14. Missouri 88 claims $2.0 million paid
  15. New Jersey 86 claims $4.3 million paid

Here’s a few more statistics that may win you something on Trivial Pursuit one day.

  • American Veterinary Medical Association estimates the U.S. dog population was approximately 70 million at the end of 2011, down from approximately 72 million in 2006, yet the number of dog bite incidents hasn’t decreased.
  • Prevent The Bite reports that according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control CDC, dog bites were the 11th leading cause of nonfatal injury to children ages 1-4, 9th for ages 5-9 and 11th for ages 10-14 from 2003-2012.
  • Insurance Information Institute estimates that in 2013, insurers across the country paid over $483 million in dog bite claims.
  • American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery reports that according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 26,935 reconstructive procedures were performed in 2013 to repair injuries caused by dog bites.
  • U.S. Postal Service reports that 5,581 postal employees were attacked by dogs in 2013. Children, elderly, and postal carriers are the most frequent victims of dog bites.
  • American Humane Association reports that 66% of bites among children occur to the head and neck.

State Farm urges caution around all dogs, including family pets. Prevent the Bite provides posters and safety information to teach children how to correctly approach a dog. The American Humane Association offers a free online booklet called Pet Meets Baby that includes a forward by Victoria and provides families with valuable information on introducing a new child to a home with a dog.

Remember, a responsible dog owner should never leave a baby or small child alone with a dog, even if it is a family pet. Children are often bitten by a dog in their own household.

Teach your kids to ask permission before touching or playing with a dog, and remember that any dog can be dangerous and any dog can bite.

Until next time,
Good day, and good dog!

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