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Minnesota among top states for dog-related claims, according to State Farm

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As the weather starts to warm up, more people will be out walking their dogs. But with that can come an increase in dog-related injuries, specifically dog bites.

According to State Farm Insurance, Minnesota is one of the top states for dog-related injuries. Minnesota ranked 7th in both 2016 and 2017.

Last year, the state had 145 injury claims resulting in $3.9 million in payments. That's up slightly from 2016 when there were 122 claims with $3.3 million in payments.

Roughly 90 million dogs live in U.S. homes. According to State Farm, they paid $132 million in 3,600 dog-related injury claims in 2017.

Other states ahead of Minnesota on the top 10 list for dog-related injuries are: California, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Michigan.

New York, Indiana, and Georgia round out the top 10 coming in eighth, ninth, and tenth place, respectively.

Out of all the states on the top 10 list, Minnesota has the smallest population, and while more people generally translates to more dogs, that's not always the case.

"Basically in the state of Minnesota, if you have a dog and your dog bites someone, you're going to be responsible for it unless that other person has provoked the dog or is actually in a place they're not supposed to be. The problem we find many times is that people who own some of these dogs really are renters who don't have renters insurance or coverage. So somebody may get bitten, but they have no source of compensation," said attorney Jim Suk with the Suk Law Firm in Rochester.

This week, April 8 to 14, is National Dog Bite Prevention Week in the U.S. It focuses on educating people about preventing dog bites.

State Farm offers tips on their website to help owners prevent dog bites. Some of those include: spay or neuter a pet as it can help reduce a dog's aggressive behavior, socialize a dog early in life as it makes for a more relaxed adult dog, and hire a professional to help a dog overcome stressors that lead to aggression.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the majority of dog bites, if not all, are preventable.

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