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      Dog bites costing Michiganders millions

      In Michigan, which ranked sixth in the nation in 2011, State Farm paid out $7 million in 181 bite claims.

      Dog bites are costing Michiganders millions in insurance claims.

      Nationwide, State Farm paid more than $109 million as a result of the nearly 3,800 dog bite claims in 2011. The Insurance Information Institute estimates that in 2011, insurers across the country paid nearly $479 million in dog bite claims.

      In Michigan, which ranked sixth in the nation in 2011, State Farm paid out $7 million in 181 bite claims. Animal experts said a dog's tendency to bite depends on such factors as heredity, obedience training, socialization, health, and the victim's behavior. They point out there are good dogs and bad dogs within every breed, just as there can be responsible and irresponsible owners of each breed. State Farm does not refuse insurance based on the breed of dog a customer owns in any U.S. state.

      State Farm reports that 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 encourage responsible behavior and caution around dogs, including family pets. Under the right circumstances, any dog might bite.