Own a dog? Better check insurance

Dog-bite claims cost the insurance industry $387 million last year, according to the Insurance Infor

Dog-bite claims cost the insurance industry $387 million last year, according to the Insurance Information Institute, and I hope that little statistic will be taken into account the next time we are urged to “rescue” or “adopt” one of these animals.

It’s all well and good to have an animal whimper and whine when you leave the house and jump all over you in delight when you return, but when you factor in the premiums on your homeowner’s liability policy, the boost to your sense of self-worth might not be worth it.

The average payout for a dog-bite claim was $24,461, not a small amount when you figure that 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, nearly 900,000 of whom require medical care of some sort and 31,000 of whom need reconstructive surgery.

Since more than half of all bites occur on the dog-owner’s property, the industry that sells homeowners’ policies is understandably interested.

Nothing is said about a concern of my own, which is dogs riding as privileged passengers in cars, and by privileged I mean not just in the back seat panting out the window, and not just in the front seat looking attentively ahead like a member of the species Homo sapiens but actually on the driver’s lap! How often do you see that? A human at the wheel with a dog squirming around, possibly licking his or her face.

I hear plenty of complaints about texting and gabbing on cellphones while driving; I hear nothing about dogs on drivers’ laps.

You would think the insurance industry, at least, with its unsentimental focus on risk, would take an interest, but I’m still waiting.


I would like all my angry correspondents to know that I enjoy their e-mails to me, and I am referring to those correspondents who are up in arms about government incompetence, government takeovers and government deficit spending.

My only question to them is where were they when George W. Bush was spending tens of billions of dollars that we didn’t have on a war that he launched on false pretenses? A war that cost some 4,000 American lives.

Were they marching in Washington then? Were they writing letters to the editor? Were they demanding to see Bush’s birth certificate?


Maybe you noticed the caption in yesterday’s Gazette under a photo of some Skidmore students banging on buckets and wondered what in the world “gorilla theatre” is. New evidence of the talents of our hairy cousins? No, just make it “guerrilla theater,” and everything will be all right.

That was one for the Homonym Hopper, and another is the declaration from the state Department of Taxation and Finance that what it’s trying to do with forms IT-150 and IT-201 is “reign in evasion.”

Another is “reeking havoc,” from a sports story in the Times Union.

Closely related is the statement from a local new anchor’s bio that she’s got “hootspa,” which I like for the translingual aspect.

If you enjoy the all-purpose word “gunman,” preferred by newspapers when we have no idea who the guy was with the gun was, you might enjoy “armed gunmen,” from The New York Times.

And if you like new words you may like “uncovery,” as in “Uncovery of plan tied to al-Qaida,” from a sub-headline in this newspaper. Funny, if you think about it. If you discover something, you make a discovery. If you uncover something, why don’t you make an uncovery? But you don’t.

Categories: News, Opinion

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