Up to 99% of pit bulls that enter a shelter are killed. Part of the problem is homeowners are finding it more and more difficult to obtain homeowners’ insurance that accept their breed of dogs. In recent years, several insurance companies have blacklisted dog breeds they consider dangerous, making it all but impossible for dog owners to get the insurance they need to protect their home. Now Pit Bulls and similar dogs are filling up California shelters, breaking up families and costing the state millions of dollars.
It is time that California joined Pennsylvania and Michigan and prohibit breed specific insurance exclusions so we can stop the needless separation of families and the eventual euthanasia of innocent dogs.
I’m Dawn, a volunteer at Chako Pit bull Rescue in Sacramento, California. Every year we take in homeless pit bulls in danger of being euthanized at shelters. Many of these dogs were surrendered when their owners faced the heart-breaking decision of giving up a beloved family member in order to keep a roof over their children’s heads. Too many children have cried, heartbroken, as their parents rip them away from their favorite companions, and even grown men have broken down because they can no longer keep their best friend. The worst part is knowing that in most of these cases, these dogs will never find another home and will unfortunately be put to sleep.
In fact, having to move and being unable to find a place to rent that will accept their dog is the top reason people give for surrendering their dogs to a shelter. These pet unfriendly lists can hurt Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers, among other breeds, even though study after study has proven that there are no dangerous dog breeds. There are just irresponsible owners who haven’t properly trained or managed their dogs.
Insurance company breed blacklists are not only wrong and unfair, but they are also misguided. If insurance companies want to reduce risk they should require dog owners and their pets to go through obedience training or provide proof of Canine Good Citizen certification. Requiring homeowners to show such proof, rather than denying them coverage outright, reduces the chance of dog bites and liability for all parties involved while keeping dog owners in their homes and dogs out of shelters.
There are better ways to minimize insurance risk than forcing families to give up their dogs. Pennsylvania and Michigan have protected homeowners and their dogs from discrimination while also ensuring that insurance companies don’t face an unfair burden. It is time California does the same by creating legislation that prohibits breed specific insurance blacklists. Help us at Chako Pit Bull Rescue keep families in their homes and dogs from being euthanized and tell the California Legislature to ban breed-specific insurance policies.