I got this e-mail from my mother yesterday on the subject of animal exclusions for homeowner insurance. She’s always forwarding me interesting animal articles just in case I’m feeling topically challenged (issue infertility happens sometimes, you know?) and this one was right up my alley — yours, too, I’d imagine. That is, if you’re in the market for homeowner insurance.

Because if you are planning to buy a home, switch policies, or if you manage to get dumped by your carrier for some reason or another, you should always read the fine print. Take the Lloyd’s homeowner’s animal exclusions list forwarded to me yesterday:

Liability is excluded for the following animals:

Pit Bull Terriers, Doberman Pinschers, Rotweillers, Staffordshire Terriers, German Shepherds, Chows, Bull Mastiffs, Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes. Wolf-Dog Hybrids, Great Danes, St Bernards, Aikita, Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Any animal with prior biting history and any cross of the above.

Any exotic pet including but not limited to a lion, tiger or alligator.

OK, so I get the alligator exclusion but "any cross of the above"? Really?

Now, given the fact that Lloyd’s people clearly can’t be troubled to look up the right spelling for some of these breeds (even my spellchecker gets Rottweiler right), I’ve got to assume it rolled the dice on some of these. Rhodesians and their mixes? Do they not know that a solid half of all brown crosses might reasonably be labeled "shep X" by the average veterinarian?

And at what point is it a mix of X, Y or Z breed anyway? Do we head on over to the Wisdom Panel people for a $99 mutt test look-see? And where do we draw the line? What percent of our dog’s DNA is it acceptable to include? And does a cockatoo count as exotic?

Because if we’re going to have to read the fine print on our prospective policies, the verbiage is going to have to get a whole lot finer than that if we’re to know which pets our policy won’t cover. After all, there’s wolf in all dogs and most every kept bird can be called an exotic.

Dr. Patty Khuly

Pic of the day: Luna hung out with Herbie for a long time this morning. by lordog