Whether in the movies or in real life, many have seen crime fighters on four legs. A Douglas County deputy became upset after he was dropped from his homeowner’s insurance because of his police canine.
"He lives with me, lives with my family, work together, go to and from everywhere together,” said Douglas County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Andy Woodward. Deputy Woodward is an eight-year veteran on the force and has been working with 4-year-old Diezel nearly two years.
The job requires Woodward to bring Diezel home every night, along with his cruiser. This raised red flags after Woodward’s insurance adjuster visited the home for an annual inspection. "He said well, they are looking at possibly dropping you, and I said, well, how can you do that? He said well, they think he's a dangerous dog."
Woodward said not only is Diezel, a Belgian Malinois, not listed as a dangerous dog in the county, but his boss, Chief Deputy Mary Bilek confirmed that DiezeI and five other canines in the department are all covered by individual insurance policies under Douglas County’s liability.
"I was under the understanding that they are going to send me a letter that said the county holds all liability and I would have brought it up here and had them sign it and I would have been on my way,” Woodward said.
Instead of receiving a letter that confirmed the county had full liability of Diezel, he got a letter that his insurance was dropped. According to the October 15th letter sent from American Family Insurance, “Due to the additional liability exposure of your police dog, we are unable to continue your homeowner coverage.”
"I didn't think it was very fair, to me I was being punished because I was having a police dog.” Woodward said.
Wednesday, American Family Insurance spokesperson Steve Witmer responded to Channel 6 News:
“We regret this situation occurred. American Family Insurance supports law enforcement and pet owners. Mr. Woodward was a longtime customer of American Family Insurance and we wanted to continue that relationship. With the appropriate information regarding Douglas County’s liability insurance coverage, we would have and will renew coverage. We care about Mr. Woodward and all law enforcement officers and are working to resolve this matter going forward.”
Regardless, Woodward said even with an offer to reverse that decision, he had already selected other homeowner’s insurance. "I'll go with a company that again I'm very loyal to. I was loyal to them for 14 years so I will be loyal to the (next) company that is going to be loyal to me."
Woodward was originally given until December until his insurance was officially cancelled with American Family Insurance. However, he wondered why in that time the proper paper work wasn’t sent, signed and sorted out, instead of a sudden letter dropping him from coverage.
Chief Deputy Bilek said he had never seen this happen to any of his deputies, including the five other canines currently in service.