Articles by

Michael Versandi

02/28/13 6:00am
Homeowners insurance and pit bulls

COURTESY PHOTO | Pit bull Lulu wearing a homeowners insurance policy cancellation notice.

To the Editor:

I love dogs. I spend a lot of time helping various rescue organizations and local shelters as well as advocating for certain breeds.

I have had dogs my entire life and each one was special in their own way. They aren’t just pets, but members of our family. And no other dog has better exemplified this than my pit bull, Lulu. My wife and I rescued her nine years ago and she has been an integral part of our lives ever since. She has not only changed our lives, but dozens of others who previously had a negative bias when it came to pit bulls.

Which is why I was shocked when my homeowners insurance company decided, out-of-the-blue, to drop us. Simply because we owned her.

Not because of a complaint or a claim or an incident of any kind. According to Otsego Mutual, her breed alone is a liability.

On a routine check of the property, a “field agent” knocked on my door while we were at work and heard Lulu bark. A few days later I received a letter from their office, stating that it had “come to their attention that there is a dog on the premises” and that I need to “provide details” about her, specifically her age and her breed.

I wrote back that she was 9, a terrier (which is her classification on all her paperwork from the shelter) and that she had no bite history. I added that she was up to date on her vaccinations and could provide proof if necessary. Four days later, I get my cancelation letter. No follow-up, no phone call, no evaluation of any kind and no chance for arbitration. Canceled. End of story.

I was dumbfounded. I know breed discrimination is nothing new. I know that over 600 cities nationwide have enacted legislation to ban certain breeds, most notably pit bulls. But the truth is, Lulu, just like millions of other “uninsurable dogs,” is a sweet, caring animal.

She, like the others, simply is not the vicious monster the media has depicted. That distinction belongs to the people and institutions that are prejudiced in their operations and policies against them. Who is more inhuman? Lulu, a decades-old faithful companion, or the insurance company that drops her owner because she exists?

Michael Versandi, Sound Beach

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