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Insurance companies refuse to insure homes with 'aggressive' dog breeds

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Owners of certain breeds of dog nationwide are being faced with a nearly impossible dilemma - keep your pet or keep your homeowner's insurance.

Susie Salazar says that her insurance carrier dropped her because of her pit bull. Photo: KUSA/CNN

Several prominent insurance companies are making moves to drop or cancel coverage for people who own certain dog breeds that they classify to be more vicious than others.

Those companies, which include American Family Insurance and Shelter Insurance, classify several breeds, including pit bulls, doberman pinschers, German shepherds and rottweilers, as vicious enough that they are refusing to insure their owners or their homes.

"Based on sound actuarial and underwriting principles, we choose not to insure individuals with breeds known to exhibit vicious tendencies," a Shelter Insurance spokesman told CNN in a statement.

One of those people fighting the system is Colorado resident Susie Salazar, who says American Family dropped her policy of 17 years over the fact that she owns a pit bull.

"We were informed that you have a pit bull in your home and we have to drop your coverage," Salazar says American Family told her, according to KUSA. "You treat them the same way you treat your kids."

In response, an American Family spokesman told KUSA that the company simply made a decision to no longer insure homes that have certain types of dog breeds.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites account for one-third of all homeowner's insurance liability claims. That put insurance companies nationwide on the hook for $490 million in dog bite claims last year alone.

That's no comfort to Indiana resident Brad Reinke, whom Shelter dropped after 7 years because he owned a dog of a breed they didn't want to deal with.

"I don't know how they can say they're aggressive when they've never met them," Reinke said. "They're pretty much discriminating against the breed."

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