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Old July 6, 2009, 09:01 AM   #126
TailGator
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FWIW - dogs' mouths are not as clean as sometimes said, and bite wounds frequently become severely infected. A doctor's care has to be recommended for a bite wound of any severity at all, because antibiotics are frequently indicated.

And as far as people taking responsibility for their pets - I can't count how many times I have treated dogs and cats that were hit by cars and listened to the owners angrily inveigh against the drivers, as if it is the responsibility of every driver on the planet to miss their dog, rather than their responsibility to keep the animal safe. Hope this doesn't qualify for a rant, but it is a pet peeve of mine and, more importantly, probably another indication of a societal tendency to blame others for the results of one's own poor judgment and lack of responsibility.

I feel better now, thanks.
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Old July 6, 2009, 10:00 AM   #127
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When this discussion started, I initially thought that the OP's decision to draw and fire was reached too hastily. But after giving it some thought (with time that the OP did not have during the incident), I think that, other than the warning shots, he did what was necessary.

What would you do if you weren't armed? Probably shout a stern command to the dogs and back away. And what if that didn't work? Then you'd get attacked. But the OP was armed, so he had more options. It seems to me that firing one warning shot into the ditchbank (which I'll assume was a safe backstop) would be a reasonable reaction - the other would be to shoot the dog. Three shots has already been mentioned.

What else could he have done? Fired no warning shots and waited until the very last minute to shoot an attacking animal. But that runs the risk of waiting too long and, even more importantly, missing the shot and hitting the victim. He could have fired no shots and taken the actions of an unarmed person. I don't know about that - I'm not willing to put my family's well being up against that situation.

The only other thing that I would have done is this: After shooting and once I had determined that the threat was gone, either by the animals running away or by me and my family running away, I would have called 911 right away. Although the immediate danger was gone, the two dogs were still loose and shots had been fired...I want to be the guy to tell the police that I fired the shots and why - I don't want the police to be looking for me because somebody else called. Also, the OP had plenty of witnesses to back him up regarding his use of force.

I'm not a lawyer, but it seems to me that the OP's use of force fit the description of use of force: he felt that his or his family's lives were in danger and he acted with the minimum amount of force necessary to resolve that danger.

And somebody needs to smack that neighbor around for letting his dogs run loose in that situation.
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Old July 6, 2009, 10:20 AM   #128
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probly been said in here already...but rabbies vaccine is not a once bitten twice shy deal...nasty nasty nasty

my 70 pound doberman is pure sweetness but i have had her nip me while playing. i knew she was not trying to hurt me but WOW... just clipped my for a split second with her fron baby teath and it broke the skin through a winter carhart jacket!!!
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Old July 6, 2009, 10:56 AM   #129
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Shooting a dog or someones pet is 10 years in prison where I live they concider it a crime here.It,s some kind of animal controll law here.
I question whether that is an accurate statement of the law as it it written, which in any event would be a "human control law."

In any event, it is most unlikely that self-defense or defense of others from imminent risk of great bodily injury would not be a complete defense.

The notion that such a law might be on the books in some unmentioned state should not deter anyone from acting to protect humans from the risk of death or great bodily injury at the teeth of two large aggressive dogs (or even one).
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Old July 6, 2009, 11:32 AM   #130
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I suspect that ten years for killing a pet law...

... pertains more to incidents like a recent one where some idiots did a drive-by shooting on a medically retired SEAL's service animal, just because they felt like it. Read about that one in a recent military online newletter.

I strongly doubt any state in the US would serve up prison time for a justifiable SD shooting against any animal.
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Old July 6, 2009, 11:32 AM   #131
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As has been said, warning shots are bad mojo

I have found myself in similar situations.

Each time, I drew a mental line and told myself that if Fido crossed that line still showing agression he would be one dead dog.

NONE ever crossed the line.

They might not be able to recognize a gun, but they can recognize when you are prepared to defend yourself and have no fear.

I once saw about a 150-pound St. Bernard put a scared sheriff on the roof of a car but back down from a deputy that stood his ground and pulled a .357.

I think they can sense it.
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Old July 6, 2009, 03:54 PM   #132
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For those saying they'll wait until they've been bitten to respond...

My grandfather bred rottweilers for years, he has several news clipping he collected over the years.

I remember more than one of rottweilers taking people's arms or legs off. Now the one's my grandfather had were things like a family dog stopping an attempted kiddnapping, or a police dog protecting his partner, but the damage itself should be noted.

Also one of the dogs my grandfather sold got out and was hit by a toyota corolla going 40 mph, totaled the car, left the dog with bruises and a limp for about a week. The driver in the car was injured worse than the dog, he broke his hand on something inside the car.

Not trying to demonize rotts, or say they're better than other breeds, they're just what I'm experienced with.

Now as to the OP's situation, I don't see a problem with his actions (except maybe the 3 shots, but that's been covered)

The results seem to show you did the right thing, so all I can say is glad everyone got out uninjured (I include the dogs in that)
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Old July 6, 2009, 04:47 PM   #133
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What would you do if you weren't armed?
I am unarmed while in public most of the time. Work at a college thing.

Seems to be a lot of dog attacks these days, read about em all the time. However I also see a lot of large dogs as a hunter etc. I usually walk with a walking stick, keen invention, long enough to fend off most anuimals, strong enough to whap one upside the head which usually makes him wish for other game.

In the city, it is illeagal to shoot a firearm like he described.
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Old July 6, 2009, 05:41 PM   #134
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They might not be able to recognize a gun, but they can recognize when you are prepared to defend yourself and have no fear.

I once saw about a 150-pound St. Bernard put a scared sheriff on the roof of a car but back down from a deputy that stood his ground and pulled a .357.
This is another take-away I learned from this incident. I honestly felt that portraying a forceful tone and fight ready (as opposed to flight ready) body language worked in my favor. Looking back I probably would've been okay with just commands, but that wasn't a chance I was willing to take. Quiet honestly, with children involved I'm still not willing to take it. I stand by my actions. Had it just been me, I would've held my ground and waited a minute or so to observe their demeanor. I didn't have that luxury at the moment, and I wasn't comfortable with dogs that size that I don't know being so close to small children given their body language up to that point.

Quote:
Seems to be a lot of dog attacks these days, read about em all the time. However I also see a lot of large dogs as a hunter etc. I usually walk with a walking stick, keen invention, long enough to fend off most anuimals, strong enough to whap one upside the head which usually makes him wish for other game.
That, good sir, is advice similar to what I'm looking for. I don't want to resort to a firearm if I don't have to. Perhaps a large stick would've actually been better in this case since all angles of fire were very screwed up (why I chose the ditch bank, and probably why I chose warning shots instead of engaging the dogs. I honestly couldn't tell you everything that was running through my mind). I may have to have a walking companion such as you describe for any more walks through the neighborhood.

Quote:
And somebody needs to smack that neighbor around for letting his dogs run loose in that situation.
I still haven't caught the neighbor at home yet, but this is the first time I've had a problem with this and he's been here probably 3 months now. I'm assuming he was out of town for the 4th, and the fireworks in the neighborhood un-nerved the dogs until the managed to chew out of their containment. While they weren't contained in a foolproof manner, I wouldn't exactly say it warrants smackinig the neighbor around just yet. Very frank and firm conversation, yes, but not smacking around.



Thanks for all of the replies and for sticking up for me when others were trying to paint me as someone waiting to "get my gun off". God bless
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Old July 6, 2009, 05:56 PM   #135
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Very frank and firm conversation, yes, but not smacking around.
And if he gets lippy at all after the talk then it is..."POW... right to da moon, Alice.. to da moon!"
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Old July 6, 2009, 05:59 PM   #136
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And if he gets lippy at all after the talk then it is..."POW... right to da moon, Alice.. to da moon!"
Brent
Duly noted Brent... and I'm a honeymooners fan as well
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Old July 6, 2009, 06:27 PM   #137
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It took 14 stitches in my face to close the wounds from a friendly St. Bernard that trotted up with its tongue out and tail wagging. It was my own dog too. It gave me one quick nip and let go. If it was intent on hurting me seriously I have no doubt it would have done very, very severe damage. Saying that you'll "take a dog bite" from a large dog before you would shoot is pure ignorance. You may not get a CHANCE to fire a shot after that first bite. I doubt I could have fired with half of my face removed. (I got 6 stitches where the tooth entered next to my right eye socket and 8 stitches on the left side of my jaw) With that logic I should obviously get shot or stabbed before I shot in self defense too right? Or are you guys seriously posting on the internet that you value the life of a dog more than a human and would me more likely to shoot a human for a perceived threat than an animal? That would play very well in court indeed. Good luck with that.

My life is not there to trade with a dog's. If it threatens me I will defend myself as I would any threat. To do otherwise could be a grave mistake. Just my opinion.
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Old July 6, 2009, 06:55 PM   #138
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I doubt the 10 year penalty for shooting a pet.

Currently if an animal is wrongly killed, unless there are unusual circumstances, you have to pay the replacement value of the animal.

I have heard of attempts to change the law so that monetary damages for things such as pain and suffering can be added when a family pet is concerned.

In cases of animal cruelty there can be a jail sentence. See Michael Vick.

Another thing to consider, if you wrongly shoot/injure an animal you could be liable for all of that animals vet bills. That can mount up into several thousand dollars.
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Old July 6, 2009, 07:22 PM   #139
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FWIW - dogs' mouths are not as clean as sometimes said

I would think this would be an understatement, however, if I had the same agility, the same could likely be said for me.
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Old July 6, 2009, 08:21 PM   #140
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Human vs animal body language

As other posters noted, our body language means something to the dog.

Establish that you are Alpha as quickly as possible. Assume your full height and an assertive body attitude. (picture a relaxed fighting stance) With either animal, command voice is a huge help. Learn it if you can. Done properly, you can convince most dogs not to close. (Trained guard/attack dog, be prepared for phase two...) The ideal here is calm, confident, controlled, but in command.

As far as non-lethal dog options:

Long sticks are good, if you carry one. The walking stick idea is excellent.

Dogs don't like pepper spray. If it's legal where you live, that could be a good investment. Try to be aware of wind direction.

Water hoses or buckets of cold water work surprisingly well, but most of us don't walk around with those...

If you are not armed, I've found that when it comes to physical engagement (IE pulling dogs off other dogs or people) the two methods that have worked best for me have been:

1) bury the dog with body weight, if it's large, and take a position behind it with a grip similar to a half nelson (gives it nothing to bite); immobilize it, but talk in a calm, soothing manner - idea is to show that you are boss, but you don't intend to harm the dog - this has worked for me on separate occasions with a mastiff, a great pyrenee, and a dobermann.

2) take it up into the air by the back of the neck, if light enough (60lbs or smaller). Mother dogs shake a pup by the nape, so this establishes dominance on a very primal level for the dog. The grab technique I use for this is not quite an openhanded punch, but it's a hard sweep. I'll either take the dog completely off the ground, or up vertical with its hind legs barely touching. This has worked with smaller boxers and pit bulls.

In either case, take control, but try to calm the dog. You want it to respect you, not become crazed by fear. In either case, do not release the dog until its attitude has calmed down. You have the tiger by the tail until that point.

One thing you cannot do with the dog is act tentatively. The owners I've seen get bitten have all been extremely timid about physical engagement. If you have to engage, engage decisively.
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Old July 6, 2009, 09:17 PM   #141
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FWIW - dogs' mouths are not as clean as sometimes said
Dog's having clean mouths is a myth.


A couple months ago I was playing with my Husky and I hit the crevis between my ring finger nail and the skin on one of his teeth. It hurt bad enough to stop playing. The sharp pain went away within a day or two, but then I started having a pressure feeling and half of my finger started swelling up, throbbing, and turning purple. Shortly after I noticed underneath the skin where the tooth punctured looked green. At this point I was wondering if a surgeon was going to have to cut my finger tip off So I grabbed a sharp pin, sterilized it, and punctured the area. I applied pressure to see if I could get anything out and all this nasty greenish puss came out. I poured rubbing alcohol on it and opened it up a bit more to release all the gnarley funk I could. Poured alcohol on it again and put a bandaid on it(I think). A day or so later the swelling went down, the throbbing went away, and now i'm left with a normal looking finger WHEW!
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Old July 6, 2009, 09:31 PM   #142
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Saying that you'll "take a dog bite" from a large dog before you would shoot is pure ignorance.
No, in my case it is said by someone that has been trained in how to take a dog out with a blade.

As I get older I favor this approach less and less as the years go by, but for now it is still a viable option for me. Go back and read my post regarding being bitten. Dogs are actually pretty easy to counter after you spend some time being the "Dummy In The Bite Suit".

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Old July 6, 2009, 09:37 PM   #143
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thing about being the "dummy in the bite suit"...

(note: been there, done that, and Malinois bites still hurt)

... is that in the real world, you aren't wearing the suit.

If theoretical legal concerns trump the inputs of medical doctors, veterinarians, and canine handlers (representatives of each field chimed into this thread), then so be it. But that single bite could cost you an arm.

The only way I'd offer up my arm is if I had no other alternative. I've been in a situation where I considered the technique, once - I was going to drag the sucker out into the lake we were next to, lock him onto my arm with the other hand and my hip, and hold him under water, if it came to that - but the dog backed off when I advanced on him.

(note: I expected a MAJOR infection if I used this technique, and am very happy it became unnecessary)

Go Alpha early.

Don't use empty hands when other options are available.

Bites can ruin your day.
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Old July 7, 2009, 12:42 AM   #144
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I never said it would be "pretty".

As far as being the dummy in the suit, I am well aware that in the real world I won't have the suit on. That's why I call it, "giving my arm" because I most likely won't have it after the encounter.

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Old July 7, 2009, 01:02 AM   #145
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Dogs don't like kicks, punches, strikes to the solarplex (sp?) Just something to consider if you ever have to fight with one.
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Old July 7, 2009, 01:12 AM   #146
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Sixer, I prefer a brutal grappling approach to begin. rear choke hold and bottom jaw assault for me as well as limbs.... Gotta take out the weapon and mobility ability.
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Old July 7, 2009, 01:40 AM   #147
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We can quibble about technique, warning shots (which I agree are not a good idea) and dog behavior, but the basic issue is that owners have a duty to control their animals on public property.

The reasonable man test that generally applies to self-defense situations should not assume the shooter understands animals like the "Dog Whisperer". If the animal is running loose, in a place open to the public, and acting in a way that appears aggressive, it shouldn't be a surprise if it is shot by someone who feels threatened.
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Old July 7, 2009, 04:22 AM   #148
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OP

Well, bears in Alaska are kind of like really BIG dogs. (I hear that their mouths are not the cleanest thing in the world too.) Bear spray has been basically 100% effective when used in Alaska,
http://www.adn.com/bearattacks/story/381252.html
you might consider taking along a can when out for your daily constitutional.

I personally carry bear spray and a handgun when out for a "walk" or hike. And when feeling confronted, I have pulled both over the years; the spray is always first these days for four leggeds.

Glad that everyone went home safely. Just thought that since you are asking for input on the event and that you are also looking for better preparation for the future that I would chime in. Hope that this helps.

I personally would also make it a high priority to contact and discuss this with your neighbor. Prevention is always preferable to dealing with the "aftermath"; it could happen again.
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Old July 7, 2009, 11:43 AM   #149
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How to avoid dog attack.

1.Keep a safe distance between yourself and dogs being walked on a lease.

2.Ask owner's permission before approaching a dog,on lease or in yard.

3.Never approach a barking,snarling,sleeping,eating, or nursing dog.

4.Do not stare the dog in the eyes.

5.Turn sideways and slowly withdraw.

6.put an object such as a tree,post,or bench between you and the dog.

7.speak softly and gently to calm the dog,Good dog,it's ok,go home."

8.Stand still or maintain a constent slow pace out of the dog's territory.

9.If local law allows,use pepper spray when charged by the dog.

10.If charged,get something between you and the dog's mouth-umbrella,pack,jacket,stick.

11.If attacked, curl up in a ball and protect your face,neck and head.

Tips.

1.you can't out run a dog,not even a olympic sprinter could.

2.Be aware of dogs a block or more ahead,change your route or turn around to avoid unleased dogs.

3.Know the weapon laws in the community you are walking in and obey them.
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Old July 7, 2009, 05:43 PM   #150
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Unless you walk around in a "bite suite" I would still advise against taking a bite first.

I've spent countless hours learning to defend myself from human attacks. I'm not likely to let someone attack first to test those skills. The best response to an imminent threat is to stop the attack in the first place. I assume most of us have trained to shoot a firearm but I'm not likely to let someone shoot me first if I can help it nor am I going to give a dog a pound of flesh from my arm so I can use some knife technique on him. If your close enough to use your knife I would say your pretty safe to use whatever force you see fit.

Oh, and you must not have read the rest of MY post where I explained just how dangerous it can be to let the dog attack first. I also know what can happen first hand and I wasn't wearing a bite suit to protect me. I've been attacked by a large dog on another occasion too. I have the scars from both encounters and I would not hesitate one second to shoot a large dog that is threatening me or my family. I'm curious, would you let the dog bite one of your children first? What if it isn't going after you?
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