Dog owners forced to get insurance as mobile home park seeks protection
Residents of the Pioneer Mobile Home Park are unhappy about yet another expense taking a bite out of their budgets.
The latest — dog liability insurance for dog owners will be a requirement to live in the park on Shepherd’s Road as of Oct. 1.
This means that any park resident who owns a dog must have $500,000 of coverage and file a document that describes the breed.
The insurance works the same as homeowner’s insurance if a visitor is injured on someone’s private property.
“I think this is ludicrous. There’s no way I can afford that. I could see it with someone who has a vicious dog,” said Robert Collins, who makes $10.27 an hour working in the Marriott security department.
The coverage runs about $300 to $400 annually per dog. Collins’ bill may triple with three canines he views as the closest thing to family.
“I’d pitch a tent in the woods before I’d give up my babies,” he said.
The South Shore man, who’s lived at the park for eight years, says he and other residents will either stand their ground fighting the policy or be forced to move.
Debra Burns, another resident, criticized the demand as a means to drive them out.
With a pledge of planned improvements, leasing rates are also going up $50 for a total of $425 a month. Most residents, like Collins, own their mobile homes.
The majority of the park residents have dogs. Some roam around without a problem. Others have displayed aggressive behavior, Collins said.
Although El Dorado County Animal Control Supervisor Robert Gerat said the policy seems unconventional, he understands the root of it.
“We’ve had just about every problem you can think of out there,” he said.
Many complaints have been lodged. Scanning his records Gerat found a report of one dog bite in March 1999. There may be others, he said.
But tell that to Collins, who believes his Pomeranian and two Shih Tzus are harmless.
Park owner Shawn Rowles, who took over the 1-acre site July 1, believes the policy represents a compromise on his part.
“I’ve never owned a park that allows dogs. I hope they can see my liability,” Rowles said, adding he plans to clean up the park and maintain it. “I’m very sensitive to people on a fixed income and their love of dogs. But I’m also sensitive to the love of children. If a 4-year-old (child) is attacked by a 10-pound dog, there’s a real liability here.”
Most renters and homeowners policies cover dog issues which, if residents of the park carried such policies, would preclude the need for dog-specific insurance.
— Susan Wood can be reached by calling (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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