DogsBite.org - A commenter recently left a message about a family being terrorized by a neighbor's pit bull. The person outlines potential steps a person can take to evoke action to get the dog removed. The comment was left as a suggestion and an information tool. DogsBite.org is a dog bite victims group -- we are not attorneys nor are we insurance agents. We publish this comment as an information tool that may help prevent future dog bite victims.
Comment: I have some very important information to share, and I hope this helps so many of you who have experienced being terrorized by a neighbors pit bull. A friend of mine is in a situation where her family, including her two small children, have been terrorized by a neighbor's pit bull.
For various reasons, going through our small town AC and police department have not accomplished anything; the owner simply refuses to comply, and the dog continues to roam loose. The dog has a bite history, yet because it did not result in serious injury, nothing was done. We have seen time and again, even in towns with dangerous dog ordinances, it is very difficult to get a dangerous pit bull removed from a home; usually the only time it happens is after a horrific attack causing devastating injury.
I suggested to my friend that the dog owners home insurance carrier is probably unaware that its customer is harboring a banned breed with a bite history. My friend called a few major carriers in our state to see if they were her neighbors carrier; the response she got was surprising. Both companies she called were EXTREMELY interested and cooperative, checked their data bases and told her, if the dog owner was their customer they would have an agent out to the home the following DAY. Unfortunately, neither carrier had the neighbor as a customer.
That's when I had another idea.
We all know that most pit bull owners try to remain under the radar...they often don't license and register their dogs, and when they do, they usually falsify the dogs breed, listing it as a "terrier" or "terrier mix", or even a "boxer mix". Failure to disclose a known risk to your insurance carrier is insurance fraud. (You can't, for instance, fail to disclose that you are manufacturing fireworks in your basement when you apply for homeowners insurance). I suggested my friend contact the state insurance fraud anonymous hotline and report suspected insurance fraud.
The response was immediate...the investigators confirmed that this was, indeed considered insurance fraud if the carrier was not aware that the dog owner owned a pit bull with a bite history. They eagerly took all the information, and assured her that she would remain anonymous. They requested dates of police resports of incidents, etc. The owner of the dog has a mortgage, which requires home owners insurance; it is quite likely his insurance carrier will cancel his policy if the dog remains, which means his lender can call in the loan. This may be the easiest way to remove a dangerous dog from a neighborhood, and I hope other posters take note.
Don't wait until you, your children, or your pets fall victim to a dangerous dog in your neighborhood. Make sure to make reports of threatening behavior, or of the dog roaming off leash. Write down everything, take photos if you can. Then contact your states insurance fraud hotline. The homeowner or landlord can lose their insurance coverage if the dog remains. Honestly, there isn't an insurance carrier in the world who would insure a pit bull with a documented history of aggression. They have a database which can locate the carrier and will work to eliminate the actuarial risk of a potentially huge claim by forcing the dog owner to get rid of the dog.
The Commenter's Steps Summarized
- Do not wait until after an attack to take action. The attack may result in lifelong debilitating injury and massive medical costs.
- Always report threatening dog behavior and off-leash dog roaming to animal control and the building/property manager of where the dangerous dog resides when appropriate.
- Record detailed information regarding each incident, such as, the description of the dog, time of day, where the dog was scene and the activity it was engaged in.
- When possible, take photos of the dog when it is loose or engaged in offensive behavior. It is also important to take photos of related "scene" information, for instance, the hole in the fence the dog may have escaped through.
- Then contact your state's insurance fraud hotline. You can locate this information by typing into Google: "YourStateName Insurance Fraud Hotline." This is an example for the State of Texas. That said, all states work differently, and you may need to pursue your online search futher.
View More Comments, Editorials and Letters to the Editor - DogsBite.org