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from The Electronic Telegraph, London

    Destructive pets cause £1m-worth of damage a year
By Adam Lusher

April 29, 2001

PETS destroy more than £1 million of electrical equipment every year, a survey of insurance claims has revealed.

Damage includes remote controls buried by dogs that mistook them for bones, televisions wrecked by dobermans caught up in the excitement of Match of the Day, and a tumble dryer destroyed by a python.

The nationwide survey found that unruly pets last year generated more than 3,500 claims for wrecked appliances, ranging from £10 remote controls to £1,000 widescreen television sets. The total bill was estimated at well in excess of £1 million.


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Henrietta Jones of Currys Coverplan, the service agreement company that collected the data, said last night: "I am constantly amazed by how destructive these animals can be. To the pets, I suppose, it's just high jinks. I am not sure the owners always see it like that, though."

The survey showed that cats were the second most destructive pets, accounting for 29 per cent of accidents. Dogs, however, caused 67 per cent of the damage reported by owners. "Dogs are the worst," Miss Jones said. "Some have a real thing about remote controls and have buried three or four. They think they are bones.

"The owners get a bit exasperated. Instead of hunting under the sofa for the remote, they look in the garden for freshly dug earth. We had a doberman that got a bit excited watching Match of the Day and pushed over a television worth more than £1,000. That was quite expensive."

The incidents encountered by Miss Jones and her team at Coverplan's Sheffield call centre have included Bruce, the baby python from South Wales, that slithered into a tumble dryer's ventilation tube. Miss Jones said: "I think the weirdest one was the parrot that got out of its cage and proceeded to chew off all the knobs on the gas hob."

The fate of Tibbs, the baby ferret from Doncaster, was particularly distressing. "We do occasionally get unfortunate incidents where the pet doesn't come out of it too well. Last autumn there was a baby ferret in Doncaster that gnawed its way into a vacuum cleaner bag. It was killed when the machine was switched on. The owner was terribly upset. Obviously, she didn't want to use the vacuum cleaner again. We got her a new one."

© Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2001.

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