A burglar alarm might be a better choice than a dog, because an alarm is safer, less expensive and better protection than a dog, and presents less risk of financial and career ruin.

A reader of dogbitelaw.com E-mailed the following comment: "I am a single woman and I am going to get a dog for protection. I think it is the best choice." Many experts feel that a simple burglar alarm is far safer, less expensive and better protection than a dog. Furthermore, it presents less risk of financial and career ruin. It's safer for several reasons:

  • Burglars often steal or even kill the dogs. 
  • An alarm system will also provide protection against fire. 
  • A really good alarm system can be hooked into the police department, fire department and a security company, all of which will send professional people to your home in the event of a problem. 
  • Most dramatically, out of 177 people killed by dogs, only 1 was a burglar, but 7 out of 10 were kids.

A burglar alarm can involve only a one-time cost, although alarms that make phone calls have monthly fees and possibly per-use fees too. Dogs have to be fed and taken to the veterinarian. Just as important, you have to spend time with your dog every day, but not your burglar alarm. A burglar alarm presents no possibility of financial ruin or career ruin, but a dog does. If your dog bites someone on the face, the losses can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Your insurance might not be sufficient to cover such losses. In fact, some people who own dogs do not have insurance at all -- which is irresponsible, especially when considering that a dog bite victim will often be a friend or family member. If faced with having to pay a large amount of damages out of your own pocket, you have only two choices, both of which are life-changing:

  • You either will declare bankruptcy, or you will have to pay off a judgment for what might be the rest of your life. 
  • In both cases, you will be further impacted because people who declare bankruptcy and have large judgments against them cannot borrow money easily (or at all), cannot get funding to start companies, and frequently are not promoted because of doubts about how they behaved or handled themselves in the past.

If you are going to use a dog for "protection," ask yourself whether it is reasonable to think that these risks are worth the "protection." Many don't believe they are, but the choice is yours. The choice might not be yours forever. The government is getting tired of the dog bite epidemic, and is beginning to take measures that take away some choices for potential dog owners. For example, certain breeds are outlawed in some places, and special insurance is required in others. Furthermore, the insurance industry is making it harder to insure certain kinds of dogs -- and in some parts of the country is trying to exclude dogs from the usual insurance policies. The only way to reverse this trend is for dog owners to be more responsible, and prevent dog bite losses. This is why you are urged to make the right decision, which in your case might very well be getting a burglar alarm rather than a protection dog.