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Are dogs biting people a common problem?

90 million dogs are kept as pets in the United States of America. Many of those dogs reside in the city of Chicago, Illinois. Their owners have a responsibility to ensure that their dogs do not infringe upon the property or personal space of other people. If their dog bites someone, a dog owner may find themselves facing a case inclusive of premises liability.

How widespread is the problem of dogs biting people?

Approximately 4.5 million people get bitten by dogs every year, according to information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than half of injuries from dog bites happen within the homes where the dogs reside, and happen to people who are familiar with those dogs.

What age of children are most at risk?

Many dog bites are suffered by people who are not familiar with the dogs who do it. It is no surprise that among children, the rate of injuries from dog bites is highest for those who are 5 to 9 years old. That is an age when children are exploring their world, but may not have learned to be cautious, and thus get too close to a dog who bites them.

Does homeowners insurance cover dog bites?

Homeowners insurance can address liability for dog bites. However, many insurers will not insure homeowners who have breeds of dogs deemed dangerous, like pit bulls. With those, they view the risk of the dog biting someone as too high.

Are insurers right to be concerned?

The insurer's concern is backed up by facts. Dog-related injuries, such as those caused by biting, account for about one third of the money paid out for homeowners insurance liability claims in 2016. Dog bite claims increased from 15,352 in 2015 to 18,123 in 2016. This was an 18 percent increase. Dog owners can mitigate their risk by ensuring that their dog is either on a leash on behind a securely locked fence at all times.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, "Dog Bite Liability," accessed Aug. 18, 2017

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