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Your Pet Dog and Animal Liability

aggressive dog behavior modification fort lauderdale dog trainerDog training and dog behavior are my passion.  Being able to communicate with a dog without force, fear, or pain is a commitment to my clients that I embrace and hold dearly.  Although training is an important part of keeping dogs safe and happy in our homes, it is not a replacement for responsible ownership and containment of your family pet.  Here’s an interesting perspective from an insurance expert.

“It never happens to me…”  Those are some words from my friend Keith Royale, of Triton Insurance Group.  Keith shared some really interesting insights on animal liability.

“The words ‘always’ and ‘never’ are key terms in helping to minimize the risk your animals may create regarding injuring or damaging another.

As in – ‘We Always walk with a leash’ and ‘Spot/Fluffy/Mr. Biggles is never is out of my sight when playing with other animals or children’.

A well behaved dog or pet can be a blessing to you and your family providing companionship, comfort and security. But even the most obedient and well trained animals are still just that – animals. And it only takes a momentary lapse for the unthinkable to happen.

You turn around and the next moment your dog is chasing after a kid on a bike or a runner. Did she catch him? Nip or Bite the person running by? What may be a playful game to your dog, can turn deadly serious when one of these people falls over and injures themselves due to your animal or they are bitten. When the letter arrives in the mail from their attorney it is a bad day indeed.

You may not be aware that a typical Homeowners Insurance policy can provide Liability insurance for animals. However, it is important to read the fine print as there are many breeds of animals who are on the Ineligible List. These will usually include breeds such as Chow, Pit Bull, Staffordshire Terrier, Akita, Presa Canarios, German Shepard, and Rottweiler. Some Insurance companies will not write a policy at all if these breeds are in the home. Others will remove the Animal Liability provision from your policy. Don’t try to be coy and say your pet is a ‘mixed breed’ as when push comes to shove and the insurance company is asked to step in on your behalf and settle the claim, if you did anything to misrepresent yourself or your pets they can deny coverage and you would still be liable for any damages (and all the legal fees associated). It may come as a surprise to learn that the average dog bite Liability Claim in Florida is about $38,000 and we are No. 2 in the country with over 1,300 such claims reported in 2016 alone.

Ben Franklin is credited with saying ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’. The best way to apply that here would be to always be vigilant with your animals and aware of what is happening around them and your environment. Even the most docile animal may become aggressive or bite when they are frightened, or when defending their puppies, owners or food. Good training will go a long way towards ensuring that you will not have any Animal related Liability issues with your beloved pets. Contacting your Insurance Agent to ask if your current Homeowners or Renter insurance policy does cover Animal Liability is a good place to start. If you don’t have Liability Insurance a stand-alone Animal Liability policy is available for less than $150 annually for $25,000 in coverage and that can offer some peace of mind.”

Looking for a top notch dog trainer in Greater Fort Lauderdale? Please call Oh Behave Dog Training at 954-587-2711 now for a phone consultation.


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