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California Worst For Dog Bite Claims

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, May 16, 2012

State Farm says more than 500 people filed dog-bite claims in California against homeowners' policies last year.  The insurance company paid $20 million to settle those claims. 

Sevag Sarkissian with State Farm says parents and pet owners need to do a better job keeping dogs away from kids.   

SARKISSIAN:  "Children make up half of all dog-bite victims, and we would like to remind folks that they should never leave a baby or child alone with a dog and we should teach our young children and toddlers to be careful around pets."

Claims were up 31 percent compared to 2010.   According to the Insurance Information Institute, 5 million people were bitten by dogs nationwide last year. 
Gina Knepp with the City of Sacramento's Front Street Shelter says she hasn't seen any real increase in reports of attacks, but she does say too many dog owners have historically balked at keeping their pets on a leash.

KNEPP:  "Everybody thinks their dog is great. You know?  I think my dogs are great. But, you never know what your animal will do when it encounters another animal who may not be so great."

There were $480 million in dog-bite claims paid by all insurance companies. 
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