The annual Dog Bite Prevention Week is geared toward reducing animal attacks and the danger that pets pose to children. Recently, State Farm Insurance released figures for 2018 that show an overall decrease in incidents but a rise in costs of claims. Though many states, such as Arizona, have enacted breed-specific laws aimed at protecting residents from a potentially dangerous breed, State Farm does not have breed restrictions in its policies, as any dog can attack.
The American Veterinary Medical Association sponsors Dog Bite Prevention Week to draw attention to the dangers of a pet that has not been properly socialized. In addition, it produces educational materials on how to safely introduce children and dogs. While the overall number for dog bites has declined in the past year, the number of child victims under the age of 1 has increased.
One of the reasons children are more susceptible to injuries from dogs is that they are unable to properly interpret a dog’s body language. Children often mistake a dog’s behavior that signals an increase in stress or aggression as playful, which may lead to tragedy. Pet owners are urged to ensure that their dogs are socialized and that children are instructed in how to approach and act around pets.
State Farm Insurance works with the AVMA to help educate owners about the proper training of pets to guard against unprovoked attacks. Though many renters’ and homeowners’ insurance companies add riders to their policies that refuse to provide coverage for any pet that is on the dangerous breed list, State Farm knows that any pet can attack under the wrong circumstances. Those who have been a victim of such an attack while in Arizona are entitled to seek compensation for their damages under the state’s strict liability laws, which hold an owner liable for any unprovoked attacks committed by their pets.