Family tells struggle of complying with 'dangerous dog' ordinance

Family tells struggle of complying with 'dangerous dog' ordinance
Dro (Source Christina Schutrop)
Dro (Source Christina Schutrop)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -A Lawton family, who fought the city for weeks over its new dangerous dog ordinance, says they believe the requirement for a $1 million liability insurance policy is excessive.

Their dog, Dro, was taken away after he bit a girl in December, and was going to be put down unless the family was able to get that policy, along with other requirements when the animal was deemed dangerous. The dog's owner, Christina Schutrop, said they did get their dog back this week, but she found out firsthand how hard it is to get that insurance policy.

Schutrop talked to many insurance agencies after she was given a week to get the policy in place, but they couldn't give her that $1 million policy when she only had renters insurance and didn't own a car. With the clock ticking on Dro's survival, she reached out to the city for help.

"To put down a dog because I can't comply with the insurance requirement, to me, is a little ridiculous. You don't have to punish my dog because you made a law I can't follow," Schutrop said.

For more than a month, the Schutrop's worried they wouldn't be about to save their dog. Insurance companies turned Schutrop down for that $1 million policy for weeks. They tried to compromise with no luck.

A friend gave Schutrop the number of an insurance agent who got her a $1 million renter's insurance policy that runs about $400 a year. Schutrop says she doesn't know why this wasn't offered to her before.

Her problems with the insurance caught the attention of a Lawton insurance agent who agrees with her.

"Asking for the $1 million seems excessive. I think realistically if most companies are asking or covering you for the $300,000 of coverage, then that should be the limit," Carlos Irizarry, insurance agent, said.

But the city isn't looking to lower the amount any time soon. Instead, they want to help anyone in a situation similar to Schutrop's.

"Honestly, before I euthanize someone's family member, I want to exhaust all of my outlets. I want to do everything I can," said Russell Anderson, Lawton Animal Welfare superintendent.

Councilmen Dwight Tanner says the insurance is there for the protection of the owner and the victim, but believes it is more difficult for owners no matter how much the insurance is.

"If your animal has been deemed dangerous, it went out and attacked someone, it's going to be difficult to get liability insurance whether it's for $10,000 or a $1 million," Councilman Tanner said.

Despite the difficulty of getting that policy, since it's not impossible to get one, a change to the city code will not be brought up for the council to consider.

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