November 1, 2021 By Christian Murray
Owners of pit bulls, Rottweilers, and other dogs deemed aggressive have often struggled to purchase home insurance or faced higher premiums.
It’s about to change. A bill, sponsored by State Senator Mike Gianaris, was enacted by Gov. Kathy Hochul last week that prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage – or raising insurance premiums – in depending on the breed of dog belonging to the policyholder.
Gianaris, who represents West Queens, says many insurance companies have failed to provide home insurance for people who keep certain types of dogs – or increase their premiums – claiming certain breeds are dangerous and bite. .
Lawmakers said there was no statistical link between dog breeds and bites, citing a white paper which states that dogs such as the Great Danes are no more dangerous than Corgis and Chihuahuas.
He says higher premiums increase the cost of owning a home, often forcing dog lovers to forgo owning or keeping such dogs.
“People should never be forced to choose between affordable housing and the pets that are part of their family,” said Gianaris.
Hochul also signed another pet bill last week that had been sponsored by Gianaris. The law requires veterinarians to report suspected cases of animal abuse.
“Violence against animals is often predictive of violence against people, especially domestic violence,” said Linda B. Rosenthal, member of the assembly, sponsor of the veterinary reporting legislation which represents the Upper West Side of Manhattan. “It is vital that we do all we can to eradicate both. “
Gianaris said the new laws aim to ensure animals are treated with dignity.
“Our four-legged friends are precious companions who are part of our families and deserve to be respected,” said Gianaris. “We still have work to do, but these are important advances in the cause of animal rights. “
However, Gianaris’ legislation to stop retail pet stores from selling dogs and cats has yet to be passed. His bill was passed by the Senate in May but did not go to a full vote in the assembly this legislative year.
The bill was first introduced in 2018. It was passed in the Senate for the first time in 2020 and re-adopted in 2021. It was not adopted by the Assembly.