ASPCA Commends Nevada Lawmakers for Passing Bill to End Dog Breed Discrimination by Insurance Companies

Nevada is the first state to pass legislation prohibiting insurance companies from utilizing the breed of a dog in determining property insurance coverage
May 25, 2021

CARSON CITY – The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) commends the Nevada Legislature for passing S.B. 103 to prohibit insurers from utilizing the breed of a dog in determining property insurance coverage. Sponsored by Sen. Melanie Scheible (D-Las Vegas), this legislation improves protections for thousands of dog-owning households and if signed into law by Gov. Steve Sisolak, Nevada would be the first state to pass this type of law.

The vast majority of property insurance providers currently deny or significantly increase homeowner and renter insurance coverage and renewals for households with certain breeds of dogs in their homes, yet there is no evidence to support this policy as insurance claim data does not validate the idea that certain breeds of dogs are a bigger risk as compared to non-restricted breeds.

“S.B. 103 removes housing barriers for thousands of responsible Nevada dog owners, putting a stop to breed-specific insurance coverage, and we are grateful to Senator Scheible for her leadership on this bill,” said Susan Riggs, Senior Director of State Legislation for the ASPCA, Western Division. “Every dog, regardless of breed, should be evaluated based on their individual temperament and behavior and we urge Governor Sisolak to sign S.B. 103 to protect pets and people across the state.”

“Regulation by breed is ineffective and unfairly punitive to responsible dog owners,” said Sen. Scheible. “Nevada has long acknowledged this fact in its existing dangerous dog law and I’m proud to see my bill move forward to expand on our current state law and keep Nevada families and their dogs together.”

In 2013, Nevada joined a growing number of state and local governments that prohibit regulation of dog ownership based on the breed – or appearance of breed – of the dog. These governments acknowledge the broad consensus that breed restrictions are an ineffective and inaccurate tool in preventing dog-related risks and instead rely on objective facts in determining if individual dogs pose public risks.

Consistent with existing state law, S.B. 103 requires insurance carriers to consider each dog independently, based upon their individual temperament and behavior, regardless of their breed. Past behavior is a much stronger indicator of current behavior than genetics, so this legislation specifically reserves insurers’ latitude to cancel, refuse to issue or renew, or to increase premiums for households in which a resident dog of any breed has a history of aggression.

S.B. 103 was overwhelmingly approved by the Senate and Assembly, and now heads to the desk of Gov. Sisolak, who has 10 days to sign the bill.

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