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Oregon Bill Increases Insurance Standards for Pit Bull Owners

(Friday, March 13, 2009)

Oregon Representative Vicki Berger has introduced legislation that would require "pit bull" owners to maintain $1 million in insurance coverage.It is important that all responsible dog owners, fanciers, and breeders contact the bill’s sponsor and members of the House Consumer Protection Committee and oppose House Bill 2852.

House Bill 2852 would require owners of "pit bulls" to maintain $1 million in insurance to cover "any economic or noneconomic damages" that result from physical injury or any damage a "pit bull" causes to personal or real property. "Pit Bull" is defined as a dog identified or registered as an American pit bull terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, or American Staffordshire terrier with a dog breed club or league, dog fanciers association, breed registry, or other similar organization. It is also defined as any dog that has the appearance and physical characteristics that substantially conform to the breed standards of the United Kennel Club for American pit bull terriers or the American Kennel Club for Staffordshire bull terriers or American Staffordshire terriers.

A "licensed business primarily intended to obtain a profit from the kenneling of dogs", humane societies and other non-profit animal shelters, veterinary facilities, and facilities impounding dogs on behalf of a city or county are excluded from this requirement.

The AKC strongly opposes any breed-specific legislation. We support laws that establish a fair process by which specific dogs are identified as "dangerous" based on stated, measurable actions and impose appropriate penalties on irresponsible owners. A dog should not be deemed "dangerous" simply based on a specific breed or phenotypic class.

The same is true for homeowners’ insurance. The American Kennel Club believes that coverage should be determined by the dog’s deeds, rather than its breed. If the dog is a well-behaved member of the household and community, there is no reason to cancel or deny coverage, or mandate a higher insurance policy. In fact, insurance companies should consider a dog an asset- a natural alarm system whose bark may deter intruders and prevent potential theft.

How You Can Help:

All responsible dog owners, fanciers, and breeders should contact the bill’s sponsor and members of the House Commerce committee and politely, yet strongly express your opposition to the breed-specific requirements in House Bill 2852.

The contact information is as follows:

Bill Sponsor:
Rep. Vicki Berger
900 Court St. NE, H-479
Salem, Oregon 97301
Phone: (503) 986-1420
E-mail: rep.vickiberger@state.or.us

House Consumer Protection Committee Members:
Rep. Paul Holvey (Chair)
900 Court St. NE, H-275
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: (503) 986-1408
E-mail: rep.paulholvey@state.or.us

Rep. Chuck Riley (Vice-Chair)
900 Court St. NE, H-274
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: (503) 986-1429
E-mail: rep.chuckriley@state.or.us

Rep. Jim Weidner (Vice-Chair)
900 Court St. NE, H-387
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: (503) 986-1424
E-mail: rep.jimweidner@state.or.us

Rep. Brent Barton
900 Court St. NE, H-386
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: (503) 986-1451
E-mail: rep.brentbarton@state.or.us

Rep. Jean Cowan
900 Court St. NE, H-376
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: (503) 986-1410
E-mail: rep.jeancowan@state.or.us

Rep. Vic Gilliam
900 Court St. NE, H-389
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: (503) 986-1418
E-mail: rep.vicgilliam@state.or.us

Rep. Wayne Krieger
900 Court St. NE, H-381
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: (503) 986-1401
E-mail: rep.waynekrieger@state.or.us

Rep. Greg Matthews
900 Court St. NE, H-379
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: (503) 986-1450
E-mail: rep.gregmatthews@state.or.us

Rep. Carolyn Tomei
900 Court St. NE, H-279
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: (503) 986-1441
E-mail: rep.carolyntomei@state.or.us

Rep. Matt Wingard
900 Court St. NE, H-474
Salem, OR 97301
Phone: (503) 986-1426
E-mail: rep.mattwingard@state.or.us

Additional Resources:

  • Click here to view AKC’s "Deed Not Breed" flyer
  • Click here for AKC’s "Disagree Diplomatically" brochure