BLOOMINGTON — New State Farm videos seek to take a bite out of aggressive canine behavior after the com-pany paid more than $109 million claims from attacks last year.

“Dog bites are a serious problem for State Farm,” said State Farm spokeswoman Holly Anderson.

Particularly in Illinois which is second only to California for dog-bite claims across the nation. Statewide, 309 claims were filed in 2011, totaling $10 million, said Anderson.

The two new videos, launched earlier this week on State Farm’s YouTube channel, offer tips that people can use to avoid attacks.

In one of the videos, a man is shown running from a small dog. The second video shows a variety of dogs, from small to large breeds, chasing a group of people.

“Don’t run from dogs,” one video tells viewers. “Dogs love to chase and catch things, no matter what the size.”

State Farm’s Internet site also provides advice such as never leaving babies or small children alone with dogs and teaching youngsters to always ask for permission before petting animals.

State Farm does not decline homeowners insurance applications based on the breed of dogs in the household, Anderson said. But the company does require policy holders to answer questions regarding history of animals. The liability coverage of a homeowner’s policy would cover costs arising from a bite as long as the animal has not been excluded from coverage, Anderson said.

“When we’re underwriting, we look at the history of the dog to see if the dog has bitten someone,” Anderson said. “That will affect the premium that someone would pay.”

DeEtte Gorrie, shelter manager for the Humane Society of Central Illinois in Normal, said training is key for dogs of all breeds.

“A lot of behavioral problems can be prevented by dog obedience classes, especially if they are young puppies,” Gorrie said.

Other factors also can help prevent bites such as spaying and neutering pets and making sure homes are secure so that animals are contained, Gorrie said.






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