List of top 10 states for dog-related claims released
State Farm® Attacks Dog Bite Claims with Celebrity Dog Trainer Victoria Stilwell
National Dog Bite Prevention Week® is April 8-14, 2018 and with an estimated 89.7 million dogs living in U.S. households, accidents are bound to happen. Most dogs will never bite but it is important to remember that any dog CAN bite regardless of breed or type. In 2017, State Farm paid $132 million as a result of 3,600 dog-related injury claims.
State Farm, Victoria Stilwell and members of the National Dog Bite Prevention Coalition have joined forces during National Dog Bite Prevention Week to educate adults and children about ways to reduce dog-related injuries. Members of the National Dog Bite Prevention Coalition include State Farm, Victoria Stilwell, Insurance Information Institute, United States Postal Service, American Humane, and the American Veterinary Medical Association.
“Educating the general public about dog bite prevention is more vital than ever,” says Stilwell. “As a dog behavior expert, I support the need to raise awareness and stop these incidents from occurring.” Stilwell urges people to join the discussion and share tips on being safe and responsible around dogs by using the hashtag #preventdogbites.
State Farm is one of the few insurance companies that does not have a breed restriction list and does not exclude homeowner or renter insurance coverage because of the breed of dog owned.
Instead, the insurance company works with world renowned dog trainer Victoria Stilwell to focus on educating people about responsible pet ownership and understanding dog body language. Being bitten or attacked by a dog can leave physical and emotional scars. For the dog, it can be a death sentence. Children make up more than 50% of all dog bite victims. The elderly and home service people like mail carriers are also high on the list of frequent dog bite victims.
While an overwhelming majority of interactions with dogs don’t result in injury, most dog bites could be prevented by practicing responsible pet ownership and educating people, especially children, about how to safely interact with dogs. Stilwell recommends the following tips to keep people safe from dog bites.
- Learn canine body language. Too often people misunderstand or miss signals that a dog is uncomfortable. For example, a dog that yawns might not necessarily be tired. Yawning can also be a sign of stress.
- Give dogs space. Dogs can feel threatened when strange people touch them, so take pressure off by giving them the choice to come into your space first to say hello.
- Be humane. Dogs that are raised and trained humanely are more confident and less likely to bite than dogs that are trained using punitive methods or equipment designed to intimidate and cause pain.
Homeowners should talk to their insurance agent about coverage under a standard homeowner policy. Pet owners should consider a personal liability umbrella policy (PLUP) to provide extra coverage in case their dog does bite someone. Renters should consider getting renters insurance because most landlords do not provide coverage should there be a dog bite incident.
How You Can Help Prevent Injuries
Understanding a dog's body language and how to be a responsible pet owner can help reduce the number of dog bite related injuries.
Dogs are very expressive animals. They communicate when they’re feeling happy, sad, nervous, fearful and angry through body language. “Whale eye” describes a dog who is showing the whites of their eyes and often indicates stress or anxiety. Whale eye can be a sign that the dog will soon become aggressive because a dog who is anxious is more likely to bite.
A chained dog can become a dangerous dog. Dogs that are kept on a chain or tether outside for long periods of time can become unhappy, frustrated and aggressive. Many cities and states now have tethering laws that state how long a dog can be kept on a chain or tethered outdoors. A responsible dog owner will take their dog outdoors regularly for exercise and fresh air but doesn’t leave a dog on a chain without social interaction.
Hover over the image below to learn more safety tips.
Postal Carrier Protection
There were 6,244 postal carriers bitten in 2017. If a letter carrier delivers mail or packages to your front door, place your dog in a separate room and close that door before opening the front door. This practice is helpful to consider for food and other package deliveries as well.
Top 15 cities for dog attacks to U.S. postal carrier in 2017
1. Houston, TX 71 attacks
2. Los Angeles, CA 67 attacks
3. St. Louis, MO 52 attacks
4. Cleveland, OH 49 attacks
5. San Diego, CA 46 attacks
6. Baltimore, MD 44 attacks
7. San Antonio, TX 44 attacks
8. Columbus, OH 43 attacks
9. Dallas, TX 40 attacks
10. Louisville, KY 39 attacks
11. Chicago, IL 38 attacks
12. Denver, CO 35 attacks
13. Long Beach, CA 32 attacks
14. Detroit, MI 32 attacks
15. Kansas City, MO 32 attacks
Victoria Stilwell is a world-renowned dog trainer, TV personality, author and public speaker best known as the star of the international hit TV series Greatest American Dog and It’s Me or the Dog, through which she reaches audiences in over 120 countries. The torchbearer for force-free positive reinforcement dog training methods, Stilwell is the Editor-in-Chief of Positively.com, the CEO of both Victoria Stilwell, Inc. and Victoria Stilwell Positively Dog Training (VSPDT): the world’s premier global network of positive reinforcement dog trainers and the President and Founder of the Victoria Stilwell Academy of Dog Training and Behavior. A co-founder of the National Dog Bite Prevention Task Force, Stilwell is also committed to helping the cause of animal rescue and rehabilitation, working closely with organizations around the world to increase awareness about puppy mills, dogfighting, animal abuse, pet overpopulation, dog bite prevention, breed-specific legislation and other animal-related issues. Appearing frequently in the global media, Stilwell is widely recognized as a leader in the field of animal behavior. She serves on the Advisory Boards of DogTV, Dognition, RedRover and Canine Assistants. She is also the CEO of the Victoria Stilwell Foundation, providing animal behavior expertise and funding to smaller rescue shelters and positive training-based canine assistance organizations.
For 100 years, the mission of State Farm has been and continues to be to help people manage the risks of everyday life, recover from the unexpected, and realize their dreams. State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of auto and home insurance in the United States. Its more than 19,400 agents and approximately 53,400 employees serve over 87 million policies and accounts – which includes auto, fire, life, health, commercial policies and financial services accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 42 on the 2022 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com.
Public Affairs Specialist
Victoria Stilwell Enterprises, LLC