Dog bites getting pricey

Local News

**CORRECTION** Pittsford Animal Control Officer is Carolyn Casey, not how it is spelled in the video.

Dog bites send 200 children to the hospital each year in New York State. With weather improving and dogs out on the streets, the risk for a bite goes up. 

Spencerport State Farm Agent Dominic Agostini covers dog bite claims every year. “It always is the same story,” said Agostini. “It’s a great dog, it’s never had any issues before.” He feels for dog owners. He owns 140 pound Gus.

This four year old pup is more nervous than scary, but many dogs will cross the line when feeling threatened and bite someone. When they do, it is often not cheap to work things out with the victim.

“State Farm paid out about $121 million last year just in dog related claims,” said Agostini. This was from a 15% spike in claims up to 3,660. 

One dog owner says her pet is always friendly. “She loves everybody, she loves dogs, and she loves people,” said Ellen Irving. Jasmine is her 12 year old Shih-tzu. Irving knows that even Jasmine could make a mistake.

“She will want to approach every dog, so I have learned to ask if their dog is friendly first,” said Irving.

Some tips to prevent a dog bite: If you are alone, do not reach toward any dog. Do not approach a dog you do not know, and make sure the owner is there present with the dog. 

Carolyn Casey at Pittsford animal control says dogs are like people.

“If the circumstance is right, or the time of day is right,” said Casey, “Other noises, other things going on is right, they can be just as scared as we are.” The majority of dog bites occur right at home or in a yard on a friend or relative, and it does not matter what type of animal.

“Even a friendly dog can still bite. It doesn’t mean they’re a bad dog. It doesn’t mean they’re an aggressive dog, but any dog could bite at any point.” said Casey.

State Farm says New York is second highest in the nation for dog bite claims paying $66,770 per claim. Number one is New Jersey, at just over $74,190 per claim.

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