Animals lovers are celebrating a new law passed by the New York State legislature. As the Times Union reports, home insurance providers can no longer withhold coverage from pet owners based on their dog's breed.
Previously, insurance companies had the right to deny coverage to homeowners if they felt their dogs were predisposed to being aggressive. Pit bulls are common targets of such policies, in addition to German shepherds and Doberman pinschers. Insurance providers were also allowed to raise premiums based on what kind of dog their clients owned under the old law.
Animal rights advocates have long called for a ban on this practice since the lists of so-called dangerous breeds used by insurance companies can be based on harmful stereotypes. Aggressive dogs are often products of their environment, and focusing on genetics alone oversimplifies a complicated issue.
On top of punishing pet owners, breed-specific bans can indirectly lead to the euthanization of hard-to-adopt dogs. Pit bulls make up a significant portion of all shelter dogs, and laws and policies aimed at the breed discourage pet owners from adopting them.
Thanks to legislation signed by Governor Kathy Hochul in October 2021, New York pet owners no longer have to worry about the breed of dog they choose affecting their home insurance. But dogs of certain breeds are still stigmatized in other parts of the country. In parts of Florida, pit bulls are outright banned. Here are more facts about American pit bull terriers you should know.