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Report: California Leads Nation in Dog Bites

Posted: May 10, 2011, 6:50 p.m., EDT

State Farm reported today that California filed the most dog bite claims in 2010, accounting for $11.3 million in payouts.State Farm reported today that California filed the most dog bite claims in 2010, accounting for $11.3 million in payouts.

The company released its list of the top 10 states that filed dog bite claims last year. Overall, the Bloomington, Ill.-based insurance company said it paid more than $90 million in 2010 as a result of nearly 3,500 dog bite claims.

State Farm does not refuse insurance based on dog breed with the exception of the state of Ohio, which has determined that pit bulls meet the definition of a “vicious dog.”

A dog’s tendency to bite depends on such factors as heredity, obedience training, socialization, health and the victim’s behavior, according to State Farm.

“We believe there are good dogs and bad dogs within every breed, just as there can be responsible and irresponsible owners of each breed,” the company commented.

However, under the right circumstances, any dog might bite, the company warned.

Children account for more than 60 percent of all dog bite victims, State Farm reported. Of the 33 dog bites that resulted in death last year, 20 of the fatalities were young children, according to the company.

The top 10 states for State Farm dog bite claims in 2010 were:

1. California: 369 claims, $11.3 million claims paid
2. Illinois: 317 claims, $9.7 million claims paid
3. Ohio: 215 claims, $5.7 million claims paid
4. Texas: 202 claims, $3.7 million claims paid
5. Michigan: 166 claims, $5.2 million claims paid
6. Pennsylvania: 155 claims, $3.9 million claims paid
7. Florida: 146 claims, $5.6 million claims paid
8. Minnesota: 139 claims, $3.4 million claims paid
9. New York: 119 claims, $4.3 million claims paid
10. Indiana: 114 claims, $1.8 million claims paid.

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