BOSTON – State law in Massachusetts bans municipalities from passing breed-based dog ordinances and now lawmakers are hearing a push to ban insurers from refusing to issue a policy, canceling a policy or charging an increased premium based upon a homeowner’s ownership of any specific breed of dog.
Framingham Rep. Jack Lewis told the Financial Services Committee Tuesday that dogs can be viewed very differently by insurers versus, for instance, the American Kennel Club. Certain breeds, he said, have received “bad raps” that are not based on their behavior.
“The current law is based on false understanding of dog breeds,” Lewis said.
But dog bites are the “single biggest cause of loss for us,” causing physical and financial harm that “is tremendous,” said Frank O’Brien, testifying for the Property and Casualty Insurers Association of America, whose members write about half of the homeowner’s insurance policies in Massachusetts.
“There is no single bigger risk to the insurance industry than the presence of a dog,” said O’Brien, who said he’s a former dog owner (Molly) and his family is prodding him to become one again. The insurance group opposes the bill.
Testifying for the bill, members of a Massachusetts Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA) panel told lawmakers that dog owners who do not disclose their ownership may face financial liabilities, while those who do may be unfairly charged based on breed lists.
NAIA-CA on Facebook!
German Shepherd Dog Club of America Legislative Liaison to AKC
California Responsible Pet Owners Coalition, VP
Southern California Kennel Owners and Breeders, Secretary