Email Senator James L. Seward, Chair of the Insurance Committee, and ask him to vote S1704 out of committee.
Email Assembly Member Joseph R. Lentol, Chair of the Codes Committee, and ask him to vote A1896 out of committee.
Email Assembly Member Deborah Glick, and thank her for sponsoring A1896.
Email Senator Joseph E. Robach, and thank him for introducing S1704.
Email Assembly Member Alexander B. Pete Grannis, Chair of the Insurance Committee, and thank him for voting A1896 out of committee.
Email or call your State Senator and State Assembly Member, and tell them why it's important this bill become law. To find out who represents you, go to www.nypirg.org.
Copy us if you send an email: action@AnimalFriendlyNYC.org
Fair Insurance for Homeowners with Dogs
Assembly Bill A1896/Senate Bill S1704
Ask any dog expert - from trainer, breeder to rescuer - and they'll tell you, it's the owner, not the breed, that makes a dog dangerous. Yet, extensive media coverage of attacks by dogs has given some breeds and mixed breeds undeserved bad reputations that create serious problems for owners of perfectly well behaved dogs.
Some insurance companies flatly refuse to issue household insurance to homeowners who keep dogs who fall into a broad category of breeds deemed to be dangerous. These blacklists include breeds that face the worst prejudice - Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and Dobermans - but also often include German Shepherds, Huskies, Akitas and Chows.
What's bad about the "bad breed" blacklist is that it applies regardless of the disposition or behavior of the individual dog.
This prejudice makes it hard for New Yorkers, who already face the hurdle of no-pet clauses in apartment leases, to keep or get a dog. And it places an additional burden on rescue groups trying to place the many rescued dogs who unfortunately fall into the "bad breed" categories.
The bill currently before the State Assembly and Senate would prohibit insurers from refusing to issue or renew homeowner policies and from canceling policies or charging increased premiums based on the breed of dog the homeowner keeps.
The bill contains important safeguards to ensure that insurance companies can raise premiums, cancel a policy or refuse to issue a policy if a particular dog is found to be a "dangerous dog" under existing laws.
The bill has the support of the American Dog Owners Association, the American Kennel Club and the ASPCA. A similar bill went into effect in Connecticut in 1999.
The Assembly bill has been favorably passed out of the Insurance Committee for three years in a row. The last vote, 17 to 4 in favor of the bill, shows how much support the bill has from legislators taking a serious look at it. The Assembly bill now needs to make it out of the Codes Committee.
The Senate version of the bill has languished in the Insurance Committee since its introduction.
Let key legislators know how much support this bill has in the animal community. With elections coming up this fall, it's an ideal time to reach lawmakers.