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Let science help you! Someone told you your dog is a pit bull, but the truth is, many dogs identified as pit bulls are actually mixed breed dogs who have been incorrectly labeled. Albert (right) was labeled a pit bull in a local shelter but the landlord of his wanna-be adopter restricted this breed from his building. After a DNA test showed that there was absolutely no terrier in his genetic make-up, he was welcomed into the apartment and officially adopted from the shelter! (Albert's DNA results showed that one of his parents was a German Shorthaired Pointer) Wisdom Panel tests cost around $75. From his shelter advocate who arranged the adoption:
“It was very reassuring to both landlord and potential dog owner...I remember the landlord doing a complete 180 once he had a piece of paper in front of him (the DNA results). Having a printed document was much more official, and if the landlord was worried about being sued if anything happened, it could puts the onus of dog breed identification back on the dog owner.”
More info on why judging a dog's breed by appearance alone tends to be very inaccurate!
Insurance Companies That Don’t Discriminate
Many landlords blame the insurance companies for their discriminatory polices; however, I have confirmed via phone inquiries that the following companies do not discriminate based on breed:
United Services Automobile Association
Note: State or local breed laws may impact coverage in certain areas. Also, while these insurance companies don’t discriminate based on breed, most will exclude dogs with histories of past incidences.
These insurances may not be available in all areas or to all dog owners, so you will have to do a bit of independent research to determine which insurance agency will work for your and your pet Pit Bull. Each owner needs to be sure their policy covers injuries inflicted by any of their pets and has personal liability limit of at least $100,000.
Your landlord should have their own policy covering dog related incidents that take place on the property you are renting, but all renters should obtain supplemental insurance to be sure their dog is covered. Renters insurance covers a broad spectrum of things including your personal items like television, computers, furniture, artwork, etc., in addition to providing coverage for your pet. You will need to make sure your renters insurance specifically covers pet-related incident, and you will want to be sure to carry a policy that has at least $100,000 in personal liability coverage in case of an incident. Many of the major insurers above also offer coverage for renters, so you will want to contact your preferred provider and see what they have to offer.
How to Keep Existing Homeowner and Renter’s Insurance for your Pit Bull
Enroll your Pit Bull in obedience classes, and consider taking your dog to obtain Canine Good Citizen certification.
Neuter male Pits to reduce dominance related issues.
Make sure your bully gets lots of appropriate exercise – dogs with predatory or herding instincts need to channel those inherent tendencies in socially acceptable ways to prevent acting out.
Keep dogs on leash or in a fully, physically fenced area when outside.
Always make sure your pet Pitbull is supervised around children.
Teach children (and adults) how to behave around animals. For example, don’t disturb dogs while sleeping or eating, and do not bother mother dogs who are with their puppies.
Be aware of the signals that you yourself send to your dog; i.e. your nervousness will manifest itself within your dog.
Demonstrate what it means to be a responsible dog owner.
Dog owners need to be aware that an insurance company could potentially find a way to impose a dog exclusion or cancel a policy, depending on the municipality’s vicious dog laws (invoked if a dog has bitten), or any breed bans in place. Unfortunately, breed specific bans are popping up all over the country, and Pit Bulls are often the focus of these types of laws. Make sure you keep up to date on your city’s laws, and adhere to any breed-specific laws they have in place for taking dogs in public and proper procedures. The last thing an owner needs if for an insurance company to cite exclusions in a homeowner’s policy about not covering damage or injury caused by a dog who was not supposed to be in the county; this is why it is so important to keep current with your local laws.
We realize that housing options are limited for pit bull owners because of breed restrictions. Unfortunately, breed restrictions are not illegal, and apartment complexes, management associations and landlords are able to make and maintain these types of limitations.
While this issue certainly affects owners of pit bulls and pit bull mixes, it also affects owners of other breeds. We have seen the following breeds grouped into housing restrictions: Akita, American Bull Dog, American Pit Bull Terrier, American or Bull Staffordshire Terrier, Briard, Borzoi Hounds, Bull Mastiff, Bull Terrier, Cane Corso, Chow, Dalmatian, Doberman Pinscher, Dogo, German Shepherd, Great Dane, Great Pyrenees, Husky, Irish Wolf Hound, Komondor, Malamute, Neapolitan Mastiff, Pit Bull, Rottweiler, Scottish Deerhound, Spitz, St. Bernard, Stafford Terrier (sic), Presa Canarios, Shar Pei, Toso Inu and Wolf-Dog Hybrid.
We are working toward possible solutions to this problem in the CSRA , but it is an issue that remains an obstacle for many and will not be remedied overnight. In the meantime, we recommend seeking out apartments, duplexes or houses that are owned privately by one person or a small company (many of these are advertised on www.craigslist.org), because they are usually more open to negotiation and discussion.
Tips when talking to or meeting a potential landlord or property owner:
Tell them that you are members BKPUR , an organization committed to responsible pit bull ownership through education and advocacy, and point them to our website to learn more about our mission.We are currently in the process of trying start a program to make all of adoptables CGC certified.