DETROIT (WWJ) – State Farm says Michigan is one of the leading states for dog bite claims. The Great Lakes State ranks sixth highest in the United States, the insurance agency says.

State Farm says it paid on 181 claims in the state last year, totaling an estimated $7 million.

California led the nation with nearly three times that amount. Illinois was second, followed by Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The Insurance Information Institute says U.S. insurers paid $479 million in dog bite claims last year.

Top 10 States for State Farm Dog Bite Claims in 2011:

  1. California
    527 claims –  $20.3 million
  2. Illinois
    309 claims – $10.0 million
  3. Texas
    219 claims – $5.1 million
  4. Ohio
    215 claims – $5.4 million
  5. Pennsylvania
    197 claims – $4.9 million
  6. Michigan
    181 claims – $7.0 million
  7. Florida
    157 claims – $5.1 million
  8. Indiana
    139 claims – $3.5 million
  9. New York
    133 claims – $6.1 million
  10. Minnesota
    117 claims – $3.5 million

A dog’s tendency to bite depends on such factors as heredity, obedience training, socialization, health and the victim’s behavior. There are good dogs and bad dogs within every breed, just as there can be responsible and irresponsible owners of each breed. Under the right circumstances, any dog might bite.

Children and seniors are frequent victims of dog bites. In fact, more than half of all dog bite victims are children. In addition to stressing responsible pet ownership, State Farm and AHA encourage responsible behavior and caution around dogs, including family pets.

For more information about dog bite prevention, visit the American Humane Association.

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