German Shorthaired Pointer.

COLUMBIA — It looks like dogs and people are coexisting fair in the state of South Carolina. State Farm ranks South Carolina 19th in the nation for dog bites with $1.7 million paid on 68 dog bite claims across the state in 2016. The state of California topped the nation at number 1 with $16.8 million dollars paid on 433 dog bite claims.

State Farm paid over $121 million as a result of 3,660 dog bite claims across the nation in 2016, an increase of 15 percent.

“State Farm does not exclude homeowners or renters insurance coverage because of the breed of dog owned,” says State Farm spokesman Roszell Gadson. “Under the right circumstances, any dog might bite, regardless of breed.” Homeowners should talk to their insurance agent about coverage under a standard homeowners policy. A personal liability umbrella policy (PLUP) provides extra coverage for homeowners.

State Farm recommends the following tips to keep people safe from dog bites.

1. Learn canine body language. Too often people misunderstand or miss signals that a dog is uncomfortable. For example, a dog that yawns might not necessarily be tired. Yawning can also be a sign of stress.

2. Give dogs space. Dogs can feel threatened when strange people touch them, so take pressure off by giving them the choice to come into your space first to say hello.

3. Be humane. Dogs that are raised and trained humanely are more confident and less likely to bite than dogs that are trained using punitive methods or equipment designed to intimidate and cause pain.

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