Letters and comments for November 11, 2011

Written by Observer Upload November 11, 2011 07:36 pm
Letters and comments for November 11, 2011

Better safe than sorry


To the Editor:

According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bite claims cost the insurance industry $412 million in 2009. The average cost of a dog bite claim was $24,840. Costs are passed to policy holders. According to the CDC, more than 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs annually, resulting in 800,000 injuries that require medical attention.

The editor of “Animal People” compiled press accounts of dog attacks resulting in serious bodily harm by clearly identified breeds or ancestry from September 1982 to June 25, 2010. A total of 2,864 attacks were found, with 368 resulting in deaths. Pit bull and close pit bull mixes were responsible for 1,654 or (57 percent) of the attacks and 173 (47 percent) of the fatalities.

The author states, “In more than two-thirds of the cases I have logged, the life-threatening or fatal attack was apparently the first known dangerous behavior by the animal in question. Children and elderly people were almost always the victims.”

Basic research on “pit bulls” shows several breeds: American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier and Staffordshire bull terrier. They are descended from the “bull and terrier,” bred for its superior quality as a fighting dog for use in the blood sports of baiting, ratting and dog fighting in England during the 1800s.

Most insurance companies will not insure your liability for these breeds: Pit bull, Rottweiler, Doberman, Presa Canario, Akita and wolf hybrids. Yes, wolf hybrids are on these lists now, probably for the same reason your hair dryer has a tag saying not to use it in the bathtub.

Insurance companies have decided they cannot effectively predict or price the risk of these breeds. This should provide insight into Larry Glaze’s decision. While that particular dog may be wonderful, when children are involved, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Matthew Pidcock

La Grande