10/24/2012 05:17 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Andy Woodward, Sheriff's Deputy, Loses Homeowners Insurance Because He Cares For A Police Dog

Jeff Beiermann, The World Herald

Dogs may be a man's best friend - but not necessarily when that man is a sheriff's deputy in Nebraska.

Last week, American Family Insurance informed Douglas County Sheriff's Deputy Andy Woodward that his homeowners insurance would be terminated because he takes care of a police dog.

The county initially argued American Family was barking up the wrong tree -- all its police dogs are insured by a separate policy, and according to the Omaha World-Herald, Woodward has to live with the police dog as part of his job.

Despite these arguments, Woodward received a letter shortly after an insurance company worker visited the deputy's home. It read, "Due to the additional liability exposure of your police dog, we are unable to continue your homeowner coverage."

American Family says that its decision rests on its belief that the pooch, Diezel, counts as an attack dog. Diezel is a Belgian Malinois and doesn't qualify as one of the company's "prohibited breeds" (pit bulls, Rottweilers, etc.), but the company believes his high degree of defense training increases the likelihood he could bite someone.

"We regret this situation occurred," added American Family spokesman Steve Witmer in an emailed statement to The Huffington Post. "American Family Insurance supports law enforcement and pet owners. Mr. Woodward was a long-time customer of American Family Insurance, and we wanted to continue that relationship."

"With the appropriate information regarding Douglas County’s liability insurance coverage, we would have and will renew coverage. We care about Mr. Woodward and all law enforcement officers and are working to resolve this matter going forward."

American Family estimates around 2 percent of the U.S. population suffers a dog bite every year, or about 4.7 million people.

"It's a big issue. Dog bites, or dog attacks, are the largest single cause of homeowners' claims since the 1990s," explained an American Family spokesman to Consumerist.

PHOTO of Woodward and Diezel:
andy woodward police dog insurance



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