(CNN)-- A number of home insurance companies are now dropping or cancelling coverage for people who own certain dog breeds commonly known to be more vicious, like pit bulls. Many dog owners say their pets shouldn't be considered a liability, they're family. You treat them the same way you treat your kids, said Susie Salazar.Colorado resident Susie Salazar now has to choose between Fido at home or a home without insurance.After being with the same insurance company for nearly 17 years, American Family Insurance dropped Salazar in April.The company's spokesperson explained their decision. We made a decision that there were certain breeds of dogs that we would no longer insure, and pit bulls are one of those breeds. Just two weeks ago, Indiana resident Brad Reinke faced a similar ultimatum. Letter in the paper, in the mailbox saying that we had to get rid of our dogs because we had an aggressive dog, said Reinke.Reinke says out of the seven years Shelter Insurance has provided him coverage, his pit bulls have been around for the last five. I don't know how they can say they're aggressive when they've never met them. They're just pretty much discriminating against the breed, said Reinke.Forbes magazine reports that insurance companies tend to deny coverage to the 11 riskiest dog breeds, including pit bulls, Doberman pinschers, Rottweilers and German shepherds. Pets are part of a person's family, but it's important that dog owners are responsible, said Jeanne Salvatore, Senior VP/Consumer Spokesperson, Insurance Information Institute.The Insurance Information Institute says dog bites account for one-third of all homeowners' insurance liability claims, costing insurance companies nearly $490 million last year.Nationwide dog lovers are fighting back.Some local governments prohibit breed-specific legislation, while a couple of states have laws barring insurers from canceling or denying coverage based on breed.Shelter Insurance issued this statement: Based on sound actuarial and underwriting principles, Shelter chooses not to insure individuals with breeds known to exhibit vicious tendencies. Shelter reviews individual situations regarding breeds known to have vicious tendencies on a case by case basis.
Insurers drop homeowners who own 'dangerous' dog breeds, like 'pit bulls'
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