Virginia Ranks 17 in Number of State Farm Dog-related Injury Claims

Emporia, Va. (April 8, 2021) - A new report from State Farm explains how it isn’t just people affected by the COVID pandemic. In fact, your own pets may have been picking up on your stress and anxiety.

In 2020, State Farm paid nearly $157 million dollars for over 3,185 dog-related injury claims. The highest month for number of claims and amount paid for those claims was at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown. In March 2020, State Farm paid over $19 million dollars for 320 injury claims. Dogs were picking up on their owner stress and increased activity on the home (children home from school, adults working from home), resulting in negative behavior because of anxiety. In fact, children make up more than 50% of all dog bite victims.

Educating dog owners about being responsible will help reduce dog-related injuries because under the right circumstances, any dog might bite.

Virginia was ranked 17 in 2020 in number of State Farm dog-related injury claims (64 claims totaling $1.7 million amount paid).

In 2020, the top 5 states for dog-related injury claims according to State Farm were:

State                   # of claims             Amount paid               Avg paid per claim

  1. California              402 claims              $26.1 million                   $65,016

  2. Illinois                        258 claims              $12.6 million                   $49,012

  3. Ohio                    187 claims              $6.7 million                    $36,024

  4. Pennsylvania            158 claims              $7.0 million                    $44,716

  5. Michigan                143 claims              $6.3 million                    $44,735


National Dog Bite Prevention Week in 2021 will focus on transitioning pets in a post-pandemic world. As pet owners return to the work place or school, pets will be left home alone. This may result in destructive or aggressive behavior due to stress and anxiety. This will be a particular problem for dogs adopted during the pandemic. Newly adopted or fostered dogs might get the impression that normal life is quarantine life.

Emporia State Farm agent Peggy Malone is the president of the Emporia Greensville Humane Society.  According to Malone, the Humane Society had 32 adoptions in 2020 which is the most adoptions in a single year.   She is worried about the pets as their owners return to their work place.

“It is going to be hard for pets once everything returns to normal. They are used to having their humans around all the time and being able to spending a lot of time together,” stated Malone. “It is best to start transitioning your pet now by leaving them alone for short periods of time and gradually increase the duration.  If your dog shows signs of stress or anxiety consider having regular playdates with another dog, enrolling them in a doggie day care or using a thunder shirt.” Malone emphasized that this process may take time so it’s important for owners to be patient with their animals.