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Home insurance dropped because of pit bull

9:36 PM, Mar 21, 2013   |    comments
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GREELEY - A Greeley woman is angry that her homeowner's insurance is being dropped over the breed of her dog.

Susie Salazar has had her pit bull for about four years. She considers Gauge a family member.

"You treat them the same way you treat your kids," Salazar said.

Weeks back, Salazar says an American Family Insurance employee stopped by her home to check on a plumbing claim.

That employee met her dog Gauge, and he asked Salazar what breed the dog was. She told him Gauge was a pit bull.

"Two weeks go by and the insurance company, the office manager contacts me, and said that it was important she talk to me about my homeowner's policy," Salazar said.

"We were informed that you have a pit bull in your home, and we have to drop your coverage."

Steve Witmer is a spokesperson with American Family Insurance.

"These are tough situations," Witmer said.

He spoke with 9NEWS by phone and said the company hasn't offered homeowner's insurance to those with breeds like pit bulls for years because claims became too costly.

"Many years ago, we made a decision that there were certain breeds of dogs that we would no longer insure, and pit bulls are one of those breeds," Witmer said.

Salazar has been insured by American Family for roughly 17 years, she says, and never signed any paperwork that mentioned pit bulls. She also says she's never been asked about pets in her home.

"I am mad. I'm upset," Salazar said. "They don't even know my dog. They don't know what kind of dog he is. He's just full of joy, and love. He's just a happy, happy dog."

Dog bites are one of the top liability claims for insurance companies, according to Carole Walker with the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. Walker says many companies do insure pit bulls.

Walker recommends checking with your insurance company if you are planning to get a pit bull or a similar breed.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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