JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – State Farm reported its highest month for the number and amount paid for dog bite claims was last March at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown. The insurer and the Insurance Information Institute report the bites were not limited to people affected by the COVID pandemic.
Experts believe pets may have picked up on their owners’ stress and anxiety.
Now that pet owners are returning to the workplace or school, pets will be left home alone for long periods of time again, which resulted in destructive or aggressive behavior due to stress and anxiety.
Florida is ranked No 2 in dog bites
There are an estimated 90 million dogs living in U.S. households. Each year, millions of people are bitten or attacked by dogs. Children make up more than 50% of all dog bite victims.
In 2020 there were 16,991 related injury claims in the US with over $853 million paid, according to the Insurance Information Institute. For the third year in a row, Florida was ranked No. 2 in the country with $68 million paid in 1,235 dog bites claims. The average paid claim was over $55,000.
California had the most claims with 2,103 claims and over $135 million paid. Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, Georgia and New Jersey are all in the top 10.
The District of Columbia had the least claims with 51 bits and $1.3 million paid.
National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which began Sunday, will focus on transitioning pets in a post-pandemic world. As pet owners return to the workplace or school, pets will be left home alone. This may result in destructive or aggressive behavior due to stress and anxiety. This will be a particular problem for dogs adopted during the pandemic. Newly adopted or fostered dogs might get the impression that normal life is quarantine life.