|Tucker was on the dangerous dog list at most insurance companies.|
The last time we shopped homeowners insurance was shortly after Tucker passed away. That was probably a good thing because we would have had to lie, been denied by the company we liked, or continued to shop around.
Tucker was a mutt. There was probably some Lab in there. However, according to our veterinarians in both Virginia and Missouri, there was definitely some Chow.
That would have been a problem. Most insurance companies we called would not insure us if we had a Chow.
All of the insurance companies we called had rules about dogs. Many of them weren't at all keen about the size of our dogs. In fact, all of my dogs are on a list somewhere as banned or restricted.
|My current dogs are all on a banned or restricted dog list somewhere.|
Years ago when I was apartment hunting in Kansas City, I lost count of the number of landlords who declined my application. Not because I had a dog, but because I had a large Doberman / German Shepherd dog. Back then both of those dog breeds, along with Rottweilers, were looked upon with fear and loathing.
Today, though dogs labeled as Pit Bulls may be the first dog mentioned in any discussion of "dangerous dogs" or dog breed discrimination, they're just one type of dog among many.
According to research done by Stubby Dog, an organization dedicated to changing public perceptions of Pit Bulls, many insurance companies, cities and counties also target Rottweilers, German Shephers, Doberman Pinchers, American Bull Dogs, Bull Terriers, Mastiffs, Dalmatians, Chow Chows, mixes of those dog breeds, as well as other large breed dogs.
Over the years most of my dogs have been large dogs. Though most have been mutts, they either looked like or actually were a mix of some of the dog breeds that are often lists of banned or restricted breeds. Not one was a dangerous dog. I didn't let them ever become dangerous dogs.
That's right. It's about me, me, me. Me, the dog owner. Any dog can be taught to be dangerous - by actual teaching/training or from lack of training.
Contrary to our current cultural bias of blaming the dog or the dog breed, any dog that is actually dangerous is caused by a dog owner who is not being a responsible dog owner. It's all about whoever is at the other end of that dog leash.
Micaela Myers, writing for Stubby Dog, defines BDL:
Breed-discriminatory legislation (BDL) refers to laws that target dogs based on how they look rather than their actions. Hundreds of U.S. cities have already enacted BDL, and more cities adopt it every year. Many cities and counties—plus Marine Corps and Army bases—have banned select breeds altogether. Other cities enact BDL that automatically labels dogs of certain breeds as “vicious” or “dangerous” regardless of their behavior. These laws may require owners of the targeted breeds to follow strict guidelines, such as sterilization, proof of liability insurance, housing of the dog in a cage with a roof and floor, and muzzling the dog when on a leash.
Amy Burkert of Go Pet Friendly notes that across the US, municipalities have placed bans or restrictions on more than 100 breeds of dogs. Penalties range from fines to your dog being seized and euthanized. In fact, Burkert began making a a list of all the affected dog breeds, but gave up when it passed 100 affected dog breeds. She notes that some of the BDL laws have such broad language that they include dogs that look like the targeted breeds.
Dog breed discrimination is an issue of huge importance to any and all dog owners. Just because you don't own a dog on any of these targeted lists, doesn't mean that your favorite dog breed or mutt isn't already affected or won't be in the future.
What you can do:
- Become aware of the laws governing your home city or county and make sure that you are in compliance.
- When you're traveling, make sure your dogs are safe by knowing about breed restrictions where you're traveling to or through.
- Take action when breed specific legislation is proposed in your city or state. Attend public meetings and speak out. Write letters to your elected officials and local newspaper.
- Take every opportunity to help promote awareness of the positive attributes of your particular dog breed.
- Make sure that you are a responsible dog owner and that your own dogs are well trained and behaved.
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