“A dog does not have a fundamental right to travel.”
That’s a quote straight out of a court decision from Ohio. The case is cited as City of Akron v. Tipton (1989) 559 N.E. 2d 1385.
Why would a court say such a thing in a decision? There’s a good reason. It has to do with dogs, and pets, and rights of pet owners, and the right of cities and governments to adopt legislation regarding pets.
If a homeowner’s policy excludes losses or injuries from pets and if a dog knocked over a lamp that started a fire, then it’s conceivable that the insurance company that wrote the policy might claim that such a loss isn’t covered. In addition, if such a fire caused a neighbor’s house to burn, then it’s possible that this same insurance company might decline to cover the cost of rebuilding or repairing the neighbor’s house as well. (Whether or not the neighbor’s own homeowner’s policy would provide coverage may be a different question).
What about a dog that bites? It’s a well known fact that some dogs bite. In fact, one court stated in a written decision that “It is common knowledge that horses buck, cattle roam, cats stray, and dogs bite.” Blaha v. Stuard (2002) 640 N.W. 2d 85.
So if a homeowner has a dog that bites a neighbor, will the homeowner’s insurance policy pay for the resulting loss, injury or damage? This can be a significant question. Dogs can be powerful, and their bites can sometimes result in a lot of damage – perhaps hundreds of thousands of dollars of loss or injury. If a dog bite causes a substantial injury, then insurance coverage can be very, very important – both to the homeowner and also to any person who gets bitten.
It’s been reported that some homeowner policies may exclude loss or injury from pets. For a homeowner with a dog or other pet capable of inflicting injury, it might be very important to know whether or not insurance coverage exists if the pet should cause injury or loss.