By Zoraida Sambolin, CNN
It's an impossible dilemma for dog lovers: what to choose between keeping your dog or your home insurance?
A number of home insurance companies are now dropping or cancelling coverage for people who own certain dog breeds commonly known to be more vicious, like pit bulls. But many dog owners say their pets shouldn't be considered a liability, they're family.
But now many dog lovers, like Colorado resident Susie Salazar, are having to choose between Fido at home or a home without insurance.
"We were informed that you have a pit bull in your home and we have to drop your coverage," said Salazar.
After being with the same insurance company for nearly 17 years, American Family Insurance dropped Salazar in April. The company's spokesperson explaining their decision to our affiliate KUSA.
"We made a decision that there were certain breeds of dogs that we would no longer ensure, and pit bulls are one of those breeds," said American Family Insurance spokesperson Steve Witmer.
Just two weeks ago, Indiana resident Brad Reinke, faced a similar ultimatum.
"Letter in the mailbox, saying that we had to get rid of our dogs because we had an aggressive dog," said Reinke.
Reinke says out of the seven years Shelter Insurance has provided him coverage, his pit bulls have been around for the last five.
"I don't know how they can say they're aggressive when they've never met them. They're just pretty much discriminating against the breed," said Reinke.
Forbes magazine reports that insurance companies tend to deny coverage to 11 of the "riskiest" dog breeds. The top four in the dog house are pit bulls, Doberman pinschers, Rottweilers, and German shepherds.
"Pets are part of a person's family, but it's important that dog owners are responsible," said Jeanne Salvatore, senior vice president and consumer spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute.
The Insurance Information Institute says dog bites account for one-third of all homeowners' insurance liability claims, costing insurance companies nearly $490 million last year.
Salazar says the company never asked her if she had a pit bull, adding that even after her efforts to get a vet's recommendation, they wouldn't throw her a bone.
"I am mad, I'm upset," she said.
Now, nationwide dog lovers are fighting back. Some local governments prohibit breed-specific legislation, while a couple of states have laws barring insurers from canceling or denying coverage based on breed.
"Well the family doesn't necessarily have to give up the pet. There's a lot of home insurance out there, make some calls," said Salvatore.
Shelter Insurance sent CNN this statement: "Based on sound actuarial and underwriting principles, Shelter chooses not to insure individuals with breeds known to exhibit vicious tendencies. Shelter reviews individual situations regarding breeds known to have vicious tendencies on a case by case basis."