View Full Version : Dog Threat? How to Handle? Laws?

April 17, 2011, 11:30 PM
This is something not discussed very often, but I very nearly had to draw down on a <large aggressive dog> today while driving home. I saw the situation unfold from a stopsign, as a woman walked by a fence and I saw the dog run out from under a house in that classic attack mode. The woman heard the dog and was actually walking to someone's vehicle and saw the dog. She WAS able to make it to the vehicle, and I did not make it to the point of actually pointing at the dog. So that being said I have a few questions.

In that particular situation would it have been legal for me to dispatch the dog? I felt that it would have been my obligation because a <large aggressive dog> vs a small framed young woman would not end well and standing in her shoes I would have damn sure killed the dog.

2nd: How often do we consider the threat a dog can be? Being very used to dogs(growing up in an animal hospital having been bitten on the face by a <large dog>), I can say this might be a consideration.

I would say some of the standard get off the X drills might work on a dog, but honestly I would also look at some of the African pro-hunter methods (I mean mark sullivan dropped a cape bufallo at his feet[no joke...at his feet watch the video]). I would think there might be some similarities in a charging lion and a dog(angle of shot and placement).

Short version: My holy s moment got me thinking...how do we react to an animal threat as concealed holders? What is our legal right? What might be some things to consider if anyone has had specific training?

Oh and the police were notified about the dog. Animal control picked him up(called it and watched it).

April 17, 2011, 11:35 PM
ONE MORE NOTE! lol. Human's are actually genetically engineered to distinguishing the kind's of barks a dog produces. Our years of domestication of dogs has actually taught us that, but it also has taught them to react to human behavior(they actually know more about the human body than the chimpanzee who is almost genetically identical to humans[like 98%]). That is something else to consider. It may not be that important, but now you know and knowing is half the battle....G...I...JOE!

April 17, 2011, 11:50 PM
Just a quick warning since dog threads have a way of veering away from TFL's focus.

Dogs can be a serious threat to humans under the proper circumstances so discussing self-defense against large dogs is certainly a valid topic for TFL.

HOWEVER, TFL is NOT the proper forum for discussing the relative merits or disadvantages of particular breeds of dogs. If that's your thing then I'm sure there are forums on the internet with that focus. This is not one of them.

April 18, 2011, 12:39 AM
It is a tough call, even though you may be justified in using deadly force in the self defense of yourself or others, you just shot someone's pet and that doesn't look good in court. Just because you are carrying a firearm does not mean you have to use it.

April 18, 2011, 12:41 AM
One sensible thing for us to do would be consult the beat cop for an opinion and the folks in animal control depts to get a history of such issues in our areas. In central Texas, cops have shot several attacking pit bulls in the line of duty. Here nobody would expect a citizen to suffer a dog attack, but there is always the remote possibility that the owner may press animal cruelty charges which will cost you a ton of lawyer money.

April 18, 2011, 01:07 AM
wow thats somthing i never concidered. I am working on getting my concealed weapons permit. I would have to agree that it would probably be a situation that would end up with alot of unnessecary hassle for you because you just shot someones pet, but i think it would also depend on some other factors such as (not going into specifics) breed and actual perceived threat. How big is the dog compared to the woman? is the dog going to bite her, or get her on the ground and go after her neck? etc.... I would agree that as a responsible concealed carry you would have somewhat of an obligation to at least consider your route of action. Just know that PETA will expect you to get the death penalty it you were forced to fire on the dog :barf:

April 18, 2011, 01:19 AM
In my CCW class, the instructor who is also an expert witness in many cases each year related the story of a man and his dog attacked on his property by his neighbor's dog. He shot and killed the dog and that cost him $235,000 in legal fees. Fortunately, his home owners insurance paid a substantial portion of that and in the end he prevailed. That was simply for a dog. Using our right to self defense with a gun can be a very expensive proposition even though our right is still constitutional.

April 18, 2011, 03:15 AM
I suppose the standard "in the face of imminent death, or great bodily harm" conditions would apply to dogs as well.

April 18, 2011, 07:44 AM
If that was my wife, . . . I would expect you to get out of your car, . . . and do everything possible to keep her from being mauled by Fido, . . . and I don't care if Fido is a $50,000 AKC champion, . . . or a Heinz 57 mutt.

Dogs have no authority, right, or duty to initiate harmful attacks outside of their property where they lawfully may provide protection and if they do, . . . whatever force is necessary to stop the attack, . . . should be used.

It is the same rationale for a human attacker.

I love dogs, . . . have had many in my lifetime, . . . but any dog that is aggressive enough to just go after strangers anytime he/she feels the urge, . . . needs to be put down. Period.

May God bless,

April 18, 2011, 08:23 AM
I assume, since animal control took the dog, that there was no underground or wireless fence. Several people around here have one or the other. We have the wireless type.

One of my dogs might run toward somebody, but it won't leave the property. Shooting one of my dogs on my property would be bad for one's arrest record, one's permit, one's wallet, and possibly one's health.

April 18, 2011, 08:27 AM
Defense against dogs depends a lot on where you live.

I remember several years ago an off duty cop was jogging (Portland OR) when he was attacked by a large dog. He had his pistol with him which I think is a requirement in Oregon, and dispatched the dog. The officer was in all kinds of trouble, I believe he was suspended and charge. I was visiting my daughter in Portland at the time but I don't remember the final outcome.

Now compare that with Wyoming, it seems the sheriff's department don't want to be bothered. Twice in the last couple years I call telling them my intentions ( to cover my butt), once when a pack hamstrung one of my horses, once when they came after my wife who got out of her car to get the mail (mail box in at the highway, 1 mile from the house).

Both times I was told to "deal with it". Dogs can be dispatched when observed harassing live stock or wild game.

There is no one size fits all, different locations have different rules. Another example, loose cats in Wyoming are considered varmints.

April 18, 2011, 09:44 AM
ok I am with Mleake on this one. Leave my duachshound alone! If a dog is attacking someone else you may have to shoot it. If it is attacking you there are some non-lethal ways to deter any dog; they do involve breaking the poor things leg or legs though.

April 18, 2011, 10:05 AM
I realize dogs can be a touchy subject, I've owned several and love them. Here's what I teach in my class:

1. There's a huge difference between an angry poodle and a dog that weighs upwards of 40 pounds. You need to use your judgement and treat them differently. I jog and have kicked at small dogs that have run from their yards to nip at me.

2. Assuming the dog could be a serious threat, you don't have to let your self be bitten or mauled before you act.

3. As in any defensive scenario you can act to protect yourself or others.

4. In the moment, you have to decide how serious the threat is or if there are other choices (escape, use less force, etc).

5. If you believe there are no other options then you have the right to defend yourself or others by all means necessary.

6. Like any other self-defense act, there may be consequences, both criminal and civil.

7. Make no mistake, a large dog(s) can kill or maim very quickly depending on the size and strength of the victim.

My .02,

Hiker 1
April 18, 2011, 10:12 AM
He shot and killed the dog and that cost him $235,000 in legal fee

:eek: Good gravy! Why so much? Did he get sued for mental anguish, etc?

double bogey
April 18, 2011, 10:33 AM
I walk in my neighborhood a lot. If you have a buried fence, and a large dog comes running out at me I have no way of knowing he is going to stop before the sidewalk. I'm not going to let a dog bite me if I can stop it. A couple of years ago a young person was walking his large dog while I was in my yard. The dog was trying to get me while the kid was holding the leash and laughing. I very seriously let him know that if the dog got loose I would consider it an attack from him and both parties would be dealt with swiftly. Then I made sure he could see my carry piece under my shirt. He quit laughing and I have not seen either since.

April 18, 2011, 01:12 PM
... I suggest you back off the yard a bit, IE give yourself some room. If the dog leaves the yard, it's another matter.

There's no requirement to notify of an invisible fence, or to have a visible one, so far as I know - at least not around here. Unless your area specifies a containment system, it may well be the same in your neighborhood.

Would I fault you for drawing, or being ready to shoot? No. But I'd expect you to NOT shoot my dog in my yard, and if you did so I would take every reasonable, legal step to make your life as unhappy as you would have just made mine.

Single Six
April 18, 2011, 02:28 PM
I would suggest at least trying pepper spray on an attacking dog before going to guns. Mind you, pepper spray is not a guaranteed stopper, especially on dogs, but if you end up having to shoot, you can show that you at least tried non-lethal means first. Another consideration: If you're trying to save another person from an attacking dog, shooting may be out of the question...if the dog is all over the victim, your bullet[s] could end up striking them instead of Fido. This, to me, is a pretty solid argument for having a substantial folding blade. I'm partial to a Cold Steel 6'' Voyager myself......

April 18, 2011, 02:57 PM
@mod...sorry. Wasn't aimed at the breed. Was just saying that there is clearly a difference between a big dog vs a little dog.

Being the son of a vet I am very hesitant to kill a dog. But we all know that there are situations where someone could be in danger from. I mean there are always reasonable steps to avoid dogs, but every once in a while things happen. I have seen dogs run right through invisible fences. So I think the question remains...can you shoot? Would you? I would not be upset if someone killed my dog out of self defense IF they had a reason to do so(as in not on my land and it WAS attacking). Some people are just naturally afraid of dogs though.

April 18, 2011, 03:41 PM
Always a tough call on dogs...good example.

A LONG time ago when I was (more bllz than brns) 20 yo at a fellow officer's house playing with his 6-7 2yo pitbulls....we were doing some serious rough housing (like most big dogs they get a bad rap and are really a bunch of sweeties) I was tossing dogs everywhere and they were slamming into me and knocking me down and I was literally at the bottom of a pile of 6-7 snarling pitbulls on top of me and there I am rolling around grunting and yelling underneath them.

You know, playing keep away the rubber chew toy :).

When I yelled stop or no they would isntantly quit and stand there with their tongues hanging out and tails wagging with that "awww come on" look on their face.

You may disagree with his style of play for the dogs, but these were a "single guy's" dogs...we roughhoused as a way of life....hell we boxed for fun at that point in my life.

Went, got a drink of water, came back out and started back up for another 15-20 minutes. Next thing I know about 3 squad cars came screeching to a halt, 4-5 officers are jumping out and drawing down....I yelled stop and sit, the dogs stopped and sat down...thank god i had a shield on me because the dogs wanted to go play with the officer's that dressed just like their owner!

End of story is that I basically had to jump up and yell..."officer on scene, all clear, stand down". Trained LE personnel could not tell the difference as a 3rd party watching between a mauling and "play time"....act too quick and you will act wrongly sometimes. Once they saw I was okay we threw the frisbee a few times....but I never did play with dogs like that again because it would have broken my heart how it could have turned out.

There had been multiple reports of a man being KILLED by a pack of wild dogs on the lawn of a house.

Take it upon yourself to act without knowing the whole story and be prepared to face the piper.

April 18, 2011, 03:49 PM
Always a tough call on dogs...good example.

I would say an excellent example.

April 18, 2011, 03:54 PM
I'm not sure how people can question whether or not to shoot a dog that is a clear and present threat to life and limb but not question the same about a human attacker. As the son of a vet, I grew up in a gun-free household with animals, raising and protecting baby squirrels, rabbits, etc. We never had fewer than 4 pets in the house. However, I know from experience in the office how dangerous and aggressive animals can be - even bad cats, which are far weaker than dogs, can rip you to shreds. Any animal bearing any number of legs that attempts to attack anyone where they don't have the right to protect things will get kicked, stabbed, or shot if necessary. People don't realize how many aggressive dogs there are out there... to fully understand, you'd have to talk to a guy like my father-in-law, a UPS driver who has been bitten countless times despite assurances of owners and electric fences.

EDIT:That's a great example of why you shouldn't assume! Thank you for sharing.

April 18, 2011, 04:22 PM
All human life is way more valuable than a dogs. I love dogs, own 6 shorthairs myself but if one ever went for a human it would be dead quick.

In Omaha several people have been attacked by dogs, one guy shot one and saved the gal, he was a hero in the media. Folks just are not willing to put up with this type of behavior.

Responsible pet owners dont let their dogs run loose.

the story of a man and his dog attacked on his property by his neighbor's dog. He shot and killed the dog and that cost him $235,000 in legal fees.

What state was this in? Iowa the owner of the attacking dog would be charged. Dog would be dead as I can shoot them on my property. legally

April 18, 2011, 04:33 PM
This is something not discussed very often

Actually it is a fairly regular topic on this forum.

Check your local laws.
There will always be questions about what the appropriate amount of force might be. Just because in your mind, deadly force is the right thing to do, doesn't mean that everyone will agree with you, or that is even the case.

You should expect that you will have to defend your actions.

April 18, 2011, 04:40 PM
My philosophy is pretty simple. Take the bite then shoot the dog. Often a dog barking and rushing you has no intention of biting you. But you didn't know that. If it does bite you or someone else you have the right to defend yourself or protect the other person.

No one wants to shoot someone's pet but with pet ownership comes responsiblities. One of them is for your pet to not be a nuisance to other folks.

April 18, 2011, 05:46 PM
I'm w/McQuail, and I've used this as my standard on a couple of charges. None of the dogs actually ever bit, although they sounded and looked like they would. Once was by two charging dogs.

First bite, and it gets shot. Anything short of that, and I think you're on the defensive trying to explain why you shot and killed some 5 year old girls pet. Bite marks, and there is no question the animal was vicious and you feared for your life.

April 18, 2011, 06:50 PM
Call me a Nancy boy but I'll be darned if I'm planning to let a dog bite me just to prove its intent.

I live in a rural area and we have a problem with wild dogs attacking our cattle and now I have two small children. I shoot most uncollared dogs on our property on sight. I get very tired of people dumping unwanted pets "on the farm outside of town".

April 18, 2011, 07:25 PM
I have a couple of big "pups" that can get pretty rowdy. They are harmless, but to someone not dog savvy they don't look harmless. They are not well socialized so they bark vigorously at things they don't like or understand. I can see why someone not familiar with dogs would freak if they saw them running at them barking like mad. That's why they don't roam and the one that is least likely to be called off is never off leash.

If one of my dogs got off my property and scared you enough that you shot it, that would be my fault. If you shot one of my dogs on my land I'd do everything I could get you "married" in prison.

Now, the most dangerous dog I ever knew didn't make a sound before it attacked. It would nonchalantly walk up behind you and tear off whatever it got a hold of.

Eagle Eye
April 18, 2011, 10:18 PM
I agree completely. Go ahead and draw your weapon. Try to avoid the dog. If you are bit, shoot the dog. Then call the police.

Dr. Strangelove
April 19, 2011, 01:09 AM
I'm not going to suffer a dog bite before I defend myself, but I'm not going to just shoot some poor doggy because it's owner is an irresponsible idiot, either.

If you're armed, then you owe it to the public to behave in a responsible manner. A wiener dog nipping at your heels doesn't deserve a bullet, but a large dog that can do serious damage might. Anywhere I've ever lived, dog owners are responsible for keeping their animals under control at all times, usually meaning not running loose.

So, both sides need to practice responsibility. Gun toters need to remember the law and be responsible, and dog owners need to be responsible and keep their dogs under control.

April 19, 2011, 07:28 AM
So, both sides need to practice responsibility.

What a revolutionary idea! Thank you, Dr. Strangelove. I wish you were a politician.

April 19, 2011, 10:02 AM
I've got an interesting perspective on this. Last week a neighbor's dog got loose and ended up in our yard. I don't know these neighbors well, they live down the road. But we own the same breed, so we've chatted over the years. We both own a large breed that is often associated with problems.

So I see the dog in my yard, go out on the deck and call to him. I thought I'd just slip a leash on him and bring him home. As soon as this dog saw me he went nuts and charged me. Here's some irony for you, I was protected because I was standing inside my dog's kennel at the time, surrounded by 6' chain link fencing.

Long story short I ended up chasing the dog off my property with an axe handle, but I could still hear him barking from another neighbor's house. He ran from my place across the street and trapped a woman in her car while her five year old daughter was trapped in the house. So I got in my car and drove towards the other house. When he saw me in my car he followed me all the way to his home, I leaned on my horn until the teenager who was home came out and got him.

Five minutes later another neighbor came walking down the street with her three year old. I can't imagine what this dog would of done to them.

I confronted the dogs owner a few days later, told him that he needed to put his dog down before it created a tragedy. He blew me off.

I know dogs very well, I know this breed. His dog went out of it's way to come at me first, and then directly to the next person that it found, and I live in a rural area, the dog had plenty of options to just run away. I thought about shooting it when it was on my property, but hesitated because I own the same breed, I shouldn't have. Everyone on my street would be safer if I shot that dog.

April 19, 2011, 10:18 AM
Mainah, very interesting perspective...and yours is very much like the scenario that came to my mind when I read the title of this thread.

I live next door to a VERY vicious male Weimaraner dog that is seperated from my back yard by a rather old five foot privacy fence. This dog has repeatedly nearly clawed and chewed his way through the fence slats enough so that the fence needed repairs by my neighbor. My two year old daughter often plays in my back yard and I have often worried that this dog will somehow get through the fence and attack. Yes, I have spoken to the neighbor about my concerns, yet they did not seem overly concerned about the dog or my anxiety. I truly believe that I will be forced to shoot this dog if he ever gets through.

I am beginning to wonder if I should start a "paper trail" by calling the police to complain. Sitting here now and writing this, I wonder what would happen if he got through my fence today and I wound up shooting the dog if before being able to file a complaint?...would I be guilty of any crime?

April 19, 2011, 10:44 AM
Did anyone think of just getting a bigger dog yourself?

April 19, 2011, 10:47 AM
Mainah, Skadoosh, call the cops. You need to get the system alerted to the problem now so that it can deal with it if, heaven forbid, a problem occurs. Strikes don't count if the umpire doesn't see them.

April 19, 2011, 10:49 AM
I am beginning to wonder if I should start a "paper trail" by calling the police to complain. Sitting here now and writing this, I wonder what would happen if he got through my fence today and I wound up shooting the dog if before being able to file a complaint?...would I be guilty of any crime?

I'd start the paper trail now. I'd have the local Animal Control Officer over, and show him the damage to the fence. Ideally he'd get to see the dog's behavior too. You might also want to consider putting your own fence up.

I don't have an ACO in my town, we have coverage from the county and I know from experience I have a minimum thirty minute wait if I call the police. But Maine law does allow for shooting a dog in self defense, especially if you're on your own property.

I told my neighbor to his face that I'd shoot the dog if it ever came on my property again, the husband of the woman who was trapped in her car sent the guy a certified letter with the same message. It isn't the kind of statement that I am even remotely casual about, and as a dog lover I hated having to deliver it.

April 19, 2011, 10:51 AM
Did anyone think of just getting a bigger dog yourself?

Already have one, but I'm not about to risk her health to handle a problem that I should.

April 19, 2011, 10:59 AM
In Florida there is a (Leash Law) So CC's use the advise DR Strange gave & apply some thought. Any BIG dog 80-110 Lbs could hurt ya bad, Pepper spray
May work I use it while bike riding works great on 40lbs & under never hade to
use on any bigger & hope I never have too. ; )

April 19, 2011, 11:01 AM
This thread is interesting. But still confusing. Say I could carry, (can’t in Illinois) and was minding my own business walking down the middle of the sidewalk. It’s perfectly legal for any law abiding citizen to walk down the middle of the sidewalk in any town I know of, at any time of the day. Your dog on your property, suddenly appears, running directly towards me, barking, growling, showing it’s teeth. No visible fence between the dog and me. I liken that to a person running towards me with a knife in hand. (Teeth same as knife) Your dog is a threat to my health and well being. I am sorry, but your dog is going to die. And I can get sued for this? You gotta be kidding me.

April 19, 2011, 11:35 AM
... then yes, you can be sued.

And most of us will both sue, and press charges.

double bogey
April 19, 2011, 11:56 AM
So, the dog can commit assault, and you support it and would sue the person who defended hisself? I am not a lawyer, but feel like you would be responsible for your dogs actions. What if this attack from your dog caused a heart attack. I walk on the sidewalk, and do not retreat from dogs, or people. I have owned dogs all my life, trained lots of bird dogs. Just so you don't think I hate dogs. I read dogs pretty well, and would give a dog a lot of room to save his self before I acted. But it sounds to me like you feel it is ok for your dog to rush some one on public property and they will stop before they get to the property line?

April 19, 2011, 12:09 PM
... but in the examples given so far, the dogs haven't left private property.

So, yes, I'd press charges, and I'd sue.

Quite frankly, I've seen more people abuse dogs, than I've seen dogs abuse people. I remember one neighbor whose dog used to get sticks poked at it through the fence, or rocks thrown at it, by some brat kids in the 8-11 year old range. Funny thing, that dog got loose one day, and the kids' parents wanted to sue when the dog chased a couple of them home.

Can a dog hurt a person? Certainly.

Will most dogs do so? No.

Are there people out there who can't tell the difference? Yes.

But there are people out there who are scared to death of minorities and teenagers, too. Granted, those are humans, not dogs, but you don't see anybody here saying "if in doubt, blast away, those teenagers can hurt you if you give them an instant."

And while I wouldn't advocate violence, I can say that as a juror I'd be tempted to jury nullify if somebody beat the crap out of somebody who harmed their dog, on their property.

April 19, 2011, 12:11 PM
And FWIW, my former neighbor's big (100lb class) chocolate lab would routinely rush to the electric underground fence line, barking and snarling. He never crossed it. I never drew a gun on him. I'll admit, the first time he did it, I considered it.

But it wasn't necessary.

Seems like a lot of posters on here would have shot my neighbor's dog.

double bogey
April 19, 2011, 12:24 PM
here is the definition of assault in my state:
Definition of Assault - Texas Penal Code

Trackbacks § 22.01. ASSAULT.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person:

(1) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person's spouse;

(2) intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person's spouse; or (3) intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.

Now, I love dogs. If dogs approach me in a friendly manner, they will get a good pet job (if the owners don't mind), because I know what they like. Now the law refers to people, I have not heard of a case anywhere near me where a person had any problem defending himself against a dog, but lots where dog owners were in trouble due to an attacking or threatening dog. Just saying that if someones on public property, they shouldn't have to worry about a dog attack.

April 19, 2011, 12:26 PM
Also seems like those nervous types would be better served carrying a spray, or a walking stick.

The spray may annoy the dog's owner, but not nearly so badly. Also, as somebody else posted, if you are trying to get a dog off an actual victim, the spray is less likely to hurt the person. You also don't have to worry about where your bullets go, with regard to the neighborhood.

With the stick, there's no doubt the dog closed on you. And again collateral damage potential is minimized.

One problem some forum members have: The only tool they have is their gun, so every problem looks like a target.

April 19, 2011, 12:34 PM
Well maybe one lesson is that invisible fencing isn't a great idea if you own a large, agressive dog. I'm not comfortable with it because it won't prevent another dog from entering your property and if you loose power the fence is useless.

I can't imagine shooting a dog unless I was on my own property, and only then if the dog won't back down. I'd much rather pet it and take it home. I shared my story because it made me realize that in driving an aggressive dog off my property I'd just created a big threat to my neighbors.

April 19, 2011, 12:37 PM
Double Bogey, again, if the dog is on public property, that's a separate issue from the dog being in its own yard. You want to mix the two.

I understand that part of the problem is the dog's speed. Even so, if the dog never leaves its yard, you still have a potential problem.

(Please note, my dogs are very people-friendly, and even if they are in the wireless fence area, we are well off the beaten path - frankly, if somebody gets to where they can be bitten, they are already on my property... nice thing about being on lots of acres, a 180ft diameter circle is still easily contained.)

I've lived in several neighborhoods where there were dogs who appeared quite menacing. My best friend lives next to a big, loud Mastiff - the dog is actually kind of afraid of people, but he puts on a good show. Every so often, he breaks his chain. We've caught him, but it took some doing. He's one of those that runs up to about six feet away, then barks, but won't get closer - and he tries not to let you close on him, either.

Another neighbor had a 125lb German Shepherd, that was trained not to leave the yard, ever. We'd play frisbee; if the frisbee left the yard, the dog would stop and wait for one of us to go get it. Same with his ball.

And of course the other neighbor had the underground fence setup.

Like I said, there are some people who post here who (one gets the impression) would shoot first and think later. After all, 1) it's only a dog; 2) only a fool thinks he can read a dog well enough to know if it's safe; 3) the dog can close very fast, and really hurt you. All those arguments have been made in this and other threads.

When I mention that I've caught escaped Mastiffs, pits, Rotts, etc, people just tell me I'm either lucky or stupid. But most of those dogs aren't actually mean; often as not they are just lost.

One friend of mine lost her son's dog, briefly, because when she was walking him, he spooked at a car passing. She was on ice, lost her balance, and broke her arm. Dog ran off.

I had a dog get lost because airline baggage handlers dropped her crate, while loading onto a 767. It broke open, she bolted. (Rott mix) She ended up with 3rd degree burns on all four paws, from the hot tar on the ramp. Airline paid some vet bills on that one...

Point there being, not every dog running around out there is doing so because of bad or irresponsible owners.

Now, in a theoretical case where an elderly person was truly terrified and shot a dog, would I go for their financial or legal throat? Most likely, no. OTOH, if the person did any chest-thumping, said "it's only a dog," or any of that, now we're going to have an interesting time.

So... my biggest concern, and the reason I get so fired up, is that I get a strong feel from some posters that they are just looking for an excuse to shoot something. And they don't like dogs.

I don't like those people.

April 19, 2011, 12:42 PM
Mainah, I've got a battery backup system. And, as noted, we are on a small horse farm, and the wireless area is not near the road.

I'm not a huge fan of wireless or invisible near sidewalks, either. I'm just pointing out that there are others who do have them.

As far as catching strays, I probably catch one or two a year. A couple stayed with me for a day or a week, until owners could be located. Others, we took to the vet, got microchip data, and brought to the owners. Still others had info on their tags, so owners were found that way. One was a neighbor's dog. Hadn't met those neighbors yet, but had seen the dog at their place, so that was easy enough. One, we ended up keeping. (Found the owner, but the owner didn't want her.)

I've had a dog get loose on occasion, tunneling under or climbing over fences. Like I said, though, my dogs are all people-friendly. On those occasions, people have caught the dog, read the tag, and called my phone (number on the tag).

April 19, 2011, 01:05 PM
Dr. Strang love wrote "...If you're armed, then you owe it to the public to behave in a responsible manner. A wiener dog nipping at your heels doesn't deserve a bullet, ..." Amen I have a 14 yr old dauchshound, he is blind now and a few months ago he bit the maintainence man while I was working. The guy just left he did not even kick at the dog. I appologized to him and thanked him for being so kind to Nathan, for not kicking him, he laughed and said 'well I was never in any real danger and I ain't kickin no little dog'

April 19, 2011, 01:33 PM
MLeake, okay, but replace the dog in my above scenario with a human. Say the human was on his own property, I’m legally walking down the sidewalk in front of his house. He starts running at me with a knife, screaming and yelling at me as he approaches. Running directly at me, making eye contact with me.

If I was carrying, he would be a dead man.

Then I still could get sued?

Same thing with a dog. Replace human’s knife with dog’s teeth.

Either animal is going to die. Or should I never get a CCW if they do become available in Illinois?

Added: The time from a dog on it's own property at a full run, to the time it gets me two feet away on the sidewalk, is not enough time for the "on his property / on public property" reasoning.

April 19, 2011, 01:38 PM
Mike38, that will depend on if there will be a duty to retreat in Illinois, once they get their handgun issues resolved by the courts.

In your scenario, do you try to evade the guy first, or do you just draw and shoot?

Me, personally, I'd try to get a barrier between us, say a parked car, a mailbox, whatever. Then again, that has less to do with legal issues and more to do with awareness that handgun rounds aren't magic stoppers.

But dogs are known to have a very high percentage of bluff charges. Crazy people with knives, not so much. In most cases, I don't assume the dog actually intends to bite. And from experience, and reading the experiences of others, it's normally not the barking dogs that bite.

Added: If the dog starts out only two feet from the sidewalk, and you aren't aware of it, then your situational awareness sucks.

Or, if you simply mean you'd be only two feet off the property line, how far away are you assuming the dog starts out for your scenario? And what other steps might you take aside from shooting?

double bogey
April 19, 2011, 01:53 PM
Mleake, we are talking about 2 different scenarios. In my neighborhood the houses are 30' from the sidewalk. No fences in the front. Dog running at you doesn't have far to go. Dogs are not allowed to chase people off the sidewalk. If the dog is behind a fence, I don't care what he does. If he is loose thats completely different. And it's kind of a touchy subject for me as my neighborhood has gone downhill in recent history. I own land in the country, but have been unable to get it built on, so I envy your situation.

I'm not sure how it would work with a dog, but if a self defense shooting isn't prosecuted, in my state (ruled a good shoot), I am protected from lawsuits. And I am not required to retreat, and allowed to protect myself and others.

April 19, 2011, 02:29 PM
The thread is titled "Dog Threat?" not "When can I shoot a dog?". Threat is in the eye of the receiver. If your dog is taking a run at me, it's up to me to evaluate the level of threat: I don't know your dog. I have enough experience to be somewhat confident I can tell the difference between a bluff and an attack. My 9 y/o granddaughter; not so much. She will run. I will not attempt to shoot a dog, large or small, that doesn't present a threat. However, the larger the dog, the more severe are the consequences of misjudging a dog's intention.

I love dogs. I have lived with many over the years. I don't have one now because my circumstances don't allow me to properly care for it. But I have also put two of them down because they became unpredictable. I think it is difficult for some people to believe that their well-loved pet can be dangerous.

But they can.

April 19, 2011, 02:42 PM
psyfly, yes they can.

But some people can also be inordinately stupid.

Example: I used to frequent an off-leash park in Florida. The vast majority of people there were familiar with, and comfortable with, dogs of all sizes. Every so often you'd get somebody there who didn't like the fact that it was an off-leash park, would complain bitterly, and demand that people keep their dogs away from them.

Now, within 5 miles of that park there are at least 8 parks that are not off-leash. So why would people who were not dog-friendly go there in the first place?

In another case, a father brought a toddler daughter there, to get her more accustomed to dogs. Great in theory; in practice, when the girl initiated a game of chase with one dog, and then panicked and started shrieking, the father kicked the dog like a football.

Why did he let his toddler approach an unknown dog? Why didn't the father pick up the kid and let the dog owner deal with the dog? Note: the dog was definitely in play mode, not attack mode, and the kid had initiated.

In yet another case, an older man (new retiree, apparently) was playing fetch with his retriever, and got violent when other dogs started trying to go after the ball, then play rough with the retriever. One of the dogs was a pit bull, but it had been playing just fine with the other dogs in the group. At no point was the retriever under attack. But the old man started swinging his tennis ball launcher at the other dogs, and actually hit the pit bull with it.

At which point, as a friend of the pit's owner, I advised the man that if he wanted to go to an off-leash park, he should expect interactions. If he wanted solo time, he should take his own dog to a more secluded area. And if he hit my friend's dog again, I'd take his toy and hit him with it. (He was lucky my friend, a woman in her early 30's, didn't just beat him then and there... she came very close.)

Every so often, a dog would create an actual problem. Most of the time, the owners were on it before much could happen, but there were some irresponsible owners. The rest of us would encourage them to either take some obedience classes, or not continue coming to the park.

As far as my dogs go, I have grown so accustomed to people letting their small kids approach strange dogs - in fact, to letting them pull tails or try to ride the bigger dogs - that every dog I own gets subjected to lots of ear, nose, and tail pulling by me. I stick my hands in their mouths, and drag them around by their lower jaws. I poke them between the eyes. I play tug-o-war with their tails. I take food out of their mouths (except for the Jack Russell; she hasn't ever learned not to bite down in that scenario).

Point is, my dogs are conditioned to look at all that as play, so when some idiot parent lets their toddler approach my dogs without permission, no harm should come to the kids. They might get knocked down, or possibly toenail raked, when the dogs play with them, but they won't get bitten.

Again, I see far more people who threaten or harm dogs, than I see dogs who try to harm people (at least, without pretty serious provocation).

April 19, 2011, 02:45 PM
When talking about a animal attack, each attack is unique. I am not going to say that I would never shoot a dog who I felt was attacking me. I will say that a firearm would be my last choice to defend against (1) animal. With me it would really depend on what I have on me, where I am and the specific animal.

I live in the rural South and there are lots of farm dogs. Some are noise makers and some are dangerous to a person afoot. Animal services are very helpful in dealing with vicious animals or animals that wander. I do not always carry a firearm but 99.9 percent of the time, I will have a quality OC spray or a nice stick.

In over 40 years I have been bitten once by a very unlikely attack dog (collie). I do agree that I should not have to deal with dangerous animals at large, but I could have avoided this attack if I had taken the dogs warning actions seriously. Since that time, I have carried whatever type of defensive irritant that the times/technology offers.

like I said, each attack is unique. I do not fault anyone who uses a firearm lawfully to defend themselves. Whatever your plan, take care and good luck.

April 19, 2011, 02:51 PM

Without a doubt, owners are more trouble (usually) than the dogs.

But, again, people forget that dogs (especially dogs that are considered part of the family) can be dangerous.

I have been personal witness to two events, and can find many more on the interweb, in which trusted-for-years pet has attacked family members.

Dogs don't process information in the same manner people do. That's easy to forget. Too many people treat their dogs (and expect them to act like) "little people". They're not.



Mayor Al
April 19, 2011, 02:57 PM
My two Scotties are more apt to beat a visitor/treaspasser to death by wagging their tails so hard and licking their "new Friend", than any bites that might occur !

Butterflies July 2 2008 025.jpg

They bark and sound fierce, until the visitor/stranger gets fairly close, then they shift into the greeting mode ! After about 5 minutes of greeting sniffs and petting and mumbling 'hello's", they sit or lay down to watch the humans interact.

Now, If it is not a human... all bets are off. Deer or turkeys in the yard get them moving on those short legs..and Possum, Raccoons and other critters are attack victims if they stay long enough to get caught.

We yell and throw things at unwelcome visitor dogs, to prevent ours from joining the neighborhood wanderers. If a strange dog appears, we do isolate our dogs and watch the intruder for any signs of bad behavior. I would not hesitate to shoot a militant dog that invades our property. it hasn't happened here in Indiana but did in SoCal and a swinging rake didn't detter the invader at all..so the snubby is kept loaded and available if we ever get another of that type of visitor.

Roland Thunder
April 19, 2011, 03:10 PM
MLeake, okay, but replace the dog in my above scenario with a human. Say the human was on his own property, I’m legally walking down the sidewalk in front of his house. He starts running at me with a knife, screaming and yelling at me as he approaches. Running directly at me, making eye contact with me.

If I was carrying, he would be a dead man.

I don't see the parallel. If a person was approaching with a knife, you could warn them your armed and prepared to defend yourself and that might stop them. You couldn't do that with a dog.

April 19, 2011, 03:18 PM
I realize dog bites can be very bad news. One of the worst bite injuries I've seen didn't even actually result from a bite. An Italian greyhound ran full-tilt, while looking the other way, into an English bulldog. The greyhound just about gutted itself on one of the bulldog's protruding lower fangs. Ripped probably an 8" tear in it's side, from ribs to hip.

Luckily, the greyhound's owners saw the collision. The bulldog never bit, and in fact almost got knocked out by the impact.

(I say luckily, because they weren't at all angry with the bulldog or its owner, and all focus was on getting to the vet immediately.)

Most of the people I've seen get bitten fell into one of two categories:

1) Owners, who lost control of their own dogs, and then ineffectually tried to grab them; and
2) People who really had it coming.

I know there are many legitimate victims every year; I just haven't personally seen one (human, anyway; my friend's Schnauzer got mauled and nearly killed in a very short attack by a Chow). Then again, I've never witnessed a murder, but I know they happen.

I won't argue that dogs can't do serious damage. I will argue that a gun should not be the first line of defense against a dog, in the vast majority of cases. This is partly due to the possibility of bluff charges and misunderstandings; partly due to the fact that many people might actually wait too long if their only recourse is lethal force; and partly due to the fact that those bullets which don't hit their target, along with those which hit but overpenetrate, are going somewhere.

So, if I were really worried about a dog threat, I'd add some tools to the kit. Spray, whistles, a walking stick, even a stun gun leap to mind. And, of course, the gun.

But like I said earlier, when all you have is a gun, all problems start to look like targets.

Roland Thunder
April 19, 2011, 03:44 PM
I almost had an encounter a few years ago with a couple of neighbors Rotweilers that had gotten loose. I think the owners let them out on purpose thinking there wouldn't be anyone out late at night. I was out for a jog one night about 10pm when these 2 Rotweilers started running toward me. I didn't own a gun at the time. I decided to increase my foot speed and then I realized I wasn't going to outrun them and would probably get mauled. So, I stopped dead in my tracks and just stood there without moving an inch. The 2 dogs stopped too and we had a stare down for about 10 minutes. Finally, the dog's short attention span got the better of them and they took off. The frustrating part was, I was trying to wave down passing cars so I could get someone to help me by going to the dog owners house (I knew where the dogs lived) and everybody just waved back at me as the drove past.

April 19, 2011, 03:56 PM

But like I said earlier, when all you have is a gun, all problems start to look like targets.

Please consider the possibility that many of us gun owners and users find a comment like that condescending and at least a little insulting.



April 19, 2011, 03:58 PM
Greg has a good point.

Many dogs that approach threatingly, bluff or serious attack, will respond to a loud and commanding voice (particularly poorly trained dogs).

Certainly, as a grown-up human being, I have other recourse before turning to firing on the dog (if I judge I have the time).



April 19, 2011, 04:07 PM

How many gun owners in this thread, who have advocated shooting the dog, have offered any other alternatives to doing so? By my rough count, less than half. (I suspect a lot less than half, honestly, and think that's the trend in most dog threads.)

So, while you might find my comment condescending or insulting, can you not see why I might see things that way?

I'm about as pro-gun as you will find. I choose what states I'll live in based, in large part, on their firearms laws. Most of my friends are shooters, and CCW types.

But most of my friends don't look at the gun as their first response to possible threats. If you look at the dog threads that open on TFL, you'll see that very regularly, you get a high percentage of folk who advocate shooting the charging dog. You'll get a few who will suggest spray.

Once, there was a guy who said he was considering tasering an aggressive dog, through its chain-link fence, because he thought some day the dog might try to come over the fence at him. So, while he wasn't advocating shooting, quite, he wasn't helping things.

If you take issue with my stance, psyfly, explain what part you find condescending or insulting.

And if it turns out that you have more tools in your kit than just a gun, then you probably aren't one of the folks I was referring to. (And yes, using command presence on a dog qualifies as another tool. But aside from you, and GreginATL - who actually used non-threat, neutral body language - who has advocated that?)

April 19, 2011, 04:13 PM

Under Michigan law, any use of a firearm is an application of deadly force. Deadly force is legally permissible when it is proportional to the threat. Meaning, that deadly force may be used to prevent death, great bodily harm that could lead to death, or rape. It is entirely possible that an animal could do great bodily harm that could lead to death. So, it is possible that the use of a pistol against an attacking dog would be a justifiable use of force. Keep in mind that the circumstances would have to be such that you are in a place where you have a legal right to be, and that there is sufficient indication that your life is in danger when you fire. If you were to fire when the dog is too far away, or running away, or if you hit something other than the dog, or the dog is a toy poodle, you might face serious legal consequences. The key is that any use of force must be reasonable under the circumstances. I admire your restraint and think that the policy of not using our pistols unless we absolutely have to is the wise course of action.

While the answer contains statements of law and practical advice that are essentially correct, it is worth noting that dogs are covered by different laws than human beings. Under Michigan law, a dog is an item of personal property.

There is a statute in Michigan which states that "Any person...may kill any dog which he sees in the act of pursuing, worrying, or wounding any livestock or poultry or attacking persons, and there shall be no liability on such person in damages or otherwise, for such killing."

However, there is another statute which states that "willfully and maliciously killing or injuring animals" is a felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison.

The practical advice given last week remains unchanged. Only use your pistol if you have to. If you or someone else is in danger of attack by an animal, use your pistol or other firearm to defend yourself and your loved ones.

April 19, 2011, 04:30 PM

First, I do credit you with good intentions, so don't read personal condemnation in my own inference that what you were writing meant that gun carriers, in general, see everything as a target.

I've been carrying a gun since I was about 13 (don't ask) and I have never shot anyone with my ccw (nor anyone's dog). I live in the country mostly and I have shot my share of dogs that I deemed to be dangerous and some that I knew to be dangeous, and always with a long gun and never for sport.

My ccw is my last line of defense, not my first.

My main point is that many dog owners are overly defensive when their dogs exhibit poor training and aggressive behavior and, sometimes, seem to imply that their dog's life and health are more important than mine.



April 19, 2011, 04:30 PM
Threads like these make me aware of how much nicer it is living out of the city. We got no sidewalk, we got open fields, we got barns and out buildings where a dog can hide. We also got a law says control your animal or pay a price.

If a person is walking down the sidewalk and the dog attacks but the invisible fence stops him a person can call 911 and register a complaint about the aggressive dog and that owner will get a ticket and court date, in Omaha this will happen. A dog shouldnt attack a person just for walking down the sidewalk, a good owner will train his pet.

I got 6 dogs, come to my place and you will get licked to death, until I give the command, then you best be someplace else. A dog goes off all the time is like a gun goes off all the time.... worthless in a SD event.

April 19, 2011, 04:34 PM
Well maybe one lesson is that invisible fencing isn't a great idea if you own a large, agressive dog. I'm not comfortable with it because it won't prevent another dog from entering your property and if you loose power the fence is useless.

Takes mine about 5 or 6 days till they figure it out that the electicity is off, they are dogs, not so smart as we are. :)

Another dog comes into the place, he leaves real quick or my dogs take him to ground.

April 19, 2011, 04:35 PM
Dogs bark, and approach to warn off and identify potential intruders or strangers.

That's not an "attack".

Where I grew up, it was normal; of course, back then a lot of people had their dogs on runs or leads out in the yard. Quite a few would run full tilt to the end of their lead, and get jerked back.

Oddly enough, I don't recall any citations, or public outcries; I also don't recall any actual attacks on my street.

Of course, we also didn't wear helmets on our bikes, or have people advocate putting 8 year old's in child car seats; we rode in the backs of pick-up trucks; we tried to make home-made firecrackers.... and just about every kid had a pocket-knife at school.

April 19, 2011, 05:09 PM
Let's look at some facts. There are about 30 fatal dog attacks each year in the US and the number one breed is pit bulls, Rotweillers are second with German Shepherds right up there.


If I am confronted out doors with a threatening pit bull, or other large dog, I am going to assume the worst, especially if I am with family. These are very aggressive animals that fear no one and do not back down to usual threats you can use against other dogs. You don't have to wait to get stabbed to be in fear of your life and in imminent danger of grave bodily harm or death to shoot in self defense. Likewise, are you really going to wait until you have one of these viscious dogs chomping on you. It could get out of hand quickly with them knocking you down and going for the throat.

In addition, not only do you have to worry about bite itself, it is the infection that always follows that could be the deadly part of the encounter. I am a physician and I took care of a man who was bit and scratched by his cat that had been shot in the eye with a BB by his neighbor. His arm was swollen to twice the size with scratch marks along his entire forearm. He had two bite marks on his thigh which was likewise markedly swollen. Bottom line, he would have been at high risk of death without the IV antibiotics that I gave him.

Please consider this when considering dog attacks. It is not just the bite that causes problems, it is what follows as well. That in my opinion qualifies as danger of death or grave bodily injury even from small dogs especially if people have underlying medical conditions.

The biggest issue is if the attack occurs within city limits where fire arm firing is prohibited. We had a dog attack in our neighborhood a couple of months ago where a large boxer attacked a woman walking. Actually there were three loose dogs in this attack including a Rotty mix. Fortunately, they picked on the wrong lady, she was walking her two pit bulls. A couple of weeks later, another couple walking their dog had to jump into a neighbors SUV to escape the same pack of three dogs loose once again. We had little help from the city and it is Kommifornia so the issue of even having self defense available makes it a sad situation.

The community service officer that is part of our neighborhood watch simply said call 911. Essentially all viable self defense methods against a dog attack ARE illegal here in LA county. I will be happy to be back in Idaho soon and escape to a land that recognizes self defense, especially against large dogs.

April 19, 2011, 05:41 PM
Alaska444... even in California, a cane or walking stick is probably not going to draw undue attention.

Pepper spray might or might not be an option.

For dogs, specifically, there are high frequency whistles that I'm pretty sure won't be banned anywhere in the US.

At the risk of sounding condescending... it seems like you are only looking at one means of defense, which has its downsides (both legal and practical). More options is generally a good thing.

Also, looking at your facts: 30 fatal attacks per year is bad. But it's also no higher than shark attack numbers. Do you take powerheads to the beach? The odds of a fatal dog attack are lower than lightning or tornado fatalities. (Very different from armed robbery, rape, aggravated assault, and homicide numbers.)

April 19, 2011, 09:54 PM
Dear MLeake,

Sorry, but you truly have me pegged incorrectly. Just as in my personal home defense, I have layers of defense, so likewise is my own take on dog protection as well. I ALWAYS carry a stout walking stick when out doors walking even when I am in Idaho where I ALWAYS carry at all times as well. Multiple options including knowing your surroundings is all part of the self defense package as well as avoiding situations in the first place.

Thank you for your suggestions anyway, but truly not necessary. Way ahead of you on those issues.

Back to dog attacks, they do happen, they are quite common although fatal attacks are fortunately rare, shooting a dog in self defense in an urban setting will likely always be problematic with all of the no shoot ordinances no matter what city or state it occurs, but if pressed to the point of no choice, I will choose to protect myself, and my family and get a call to my lawyer pronto. Understanding the rules and regulations of where you live is essential. I hope I never need to use deadly force against a dog or other creature for that matter, but I will and am prepared as best I can depending on where I am at the moment.

Likewise, when out in the woods hunting in Idaho, I have my .444 Marlin lever gun over one shoulder or my .300 WSM Browning BLR depending on what the agenda is for the day, my constant carry SP101 pocket carry and my .44 magnum in cross carry bandolier style. Am I paranoid? a bit, but how far is paranoia separated from simply being prepared for all situations.

Same answer with simply taking a walk down the street. With the popularity of pit bulls in every other house it seems, is that really being paranoid to want something that will stop those beasts? Not in my mind. I have heard too many stories of what those creatures can do to a person that I don't want to find out first hand for myself. Pepper spray is not an effective deterrent against many of these large dogs nor is a silent whistle something that I would rely upon. Any dog that would bite me is a dog that has the potential to easily kill a small child especially those breeds I mentioned above.

I have had two near dog attacks in my life, one with a Rottwieler, one with a German Shepherd. Fortunately, someone came along and scared the first one off with his car, and the second one I had a 2X4 right at my feet when he charged which proved very useful at the moment. I suspect there are a whole lot of folks on this forum who can tell of their dog encounters. So, just be prepared with what you have legally available to you in your place of residence which does indeed include the legal right to carry if it is available to you. By the way, bear pepper spray is not legal other than for bears, mace is not likely enough for a pit bull.

April 22, 2011, 01:57 PM
First thing, using an authoritative NO, NO, NO act to stop the DOG because they are conditioned to listen to the A Dog. (does that mean Alpha or Authoritative or both?)
Second thing, observe and react. If biting starts: try it again moving close with defense in hand.
Obviously avert serious injury or death of the human, the other person or you.

Eagle Eye
April 22, 2011, 04:36 PM
440SAW -- Huh?:confused:

April 22, 2011, 04:49 PM
Sorry, I am a dialysis patient which makes me at huge risk of infections, I am not going to wait for the bite.

April 23, 2011, 11:43 AM
Just a note here. Several people have mentioned dogs in their neighborhood that they consider threats. That is in this thread and other similar ones. Among those people some have considered the use of deadly force.

Last week at one of the dog parks we go to I met a fellow that claimed that he and his dog had been attacked on three different occasions by a particular animal. This gentleman said that he had warned to owner that if the attacking dog were not controlled in the future he would "end it". The gentleman made clear that he meant to use a firearm.

So the question is, if you know there is the potential for a dog attack, do you have the responsibility to arm yourself with non-lethal means of defense?
After all a stun gun or dog spray will effectively stop a dog attack. More importantly pepper spray is safer to use in a place that might have many people and other animals.
Back to the gentleman, I suggested dog spray and then reminded him of the 4 rules, including being sure of what was behind your target. He was dismissive of both suggestions.

I'd also add that in the year that we've been going to dog parks I've seen several instances that were described as "attacks", which imho were either dominance displays or over enthusiastic play.

April 23, 2011, 12:23 PM
I guess I am a little surprised that there is any doubt. The use of deadly force is permitted on humans if there is fear of death or great bodily harm.

Dogs can inflict both, and so if one is charging or attacking me or someone else I would not hesitate to shoot it if I could do so safely.

Once I get the dog neutralized I'll deal with the owner if he wants to extract vengeance then or later. If I fear for my life or great bodily harm I do not have time to worry about consequences when a dog is attacking me.


April 23, 2011, 08:49 PM
As I have been reading these discussions a few things are becoming clear. I am confident in my ability to judge if a dog is actually attacking or playing. You can actually tell how a dog's mood is by their bark. This is biological in humans(they have done studies). Of course this is EASIER for those of us who were raised around dogs(my dad is a vet and I have never had less than 5 dogs until I moved off to college[now]).

There is a point of which a dog can get "out of hand" in play mode. That does NOT warrant shooting the dog. Of course I am a full grown man who has a nasty hammerfist that words VERY well if used on a dog's nose. Now what should we as dog owners do knowing that some people are afraid of dogs? We should train them to understand someone standing fully upright is NOT playing. Dog's understand humans. They have been bred to do that. These kinds of cues are VERY easily taught. I suggest teaching them to your dog.

If you are AFRAID of dogs and you are not comfortable judging their attack vs play mode then I suggest you check out a local dog park from a safe distance(maybe in your car). Watch for signals like their hackles being raised OR their ears lowering. I also suggest you understand dog breeds. LITTLE dogs even if they ARE in attack mode...I mean I can punt a minpin or jack russel if I am worried it is going to maul me. It might be a little different with a 40lb dog who is dead set on taking my throat out. A hammerfist isn't going to cut it. IF you carry pepper spray that is also very effective. IF you carry a taser...well my father being a vet was called out to the interstate one time because cows had gotten loose and the police had it cornered and were going to have to shoot it(couldnt catch it), but someone had an idea and actually dropped a cow with a taser. It works.

I guess short version 1)Train your dogs(for those who have them) 2)Learn dog behavior. 3)Understand the threat from big vs little dogs. 4)If you are in a situation where a dog is a threat or in the process there are ways you can act BEFORE lethal force(aggresive dominant behavior). I have clubbed my share of dogs(THREATENING dogs...but I was young).

April 23, 2011, 08:54 PM
There's another thread going on about LEO training. A poster (TerryA, I believe) posted that an upside of more extensive training was that it bred competence, and from that competence came confidence, which helped with command presence and often served to make BG's think twice before starting anything. IE, better training leads to fewer confrontations, and those confrontations that do occur normally end in happier results for the good guys.

It's the same with dogs. More exposure and interaction with them provide higher comfort levels; comfort levels build confidence; dogs (like women - okay, men, too but women tend to rank it higher in surveys) respect confidence.

Learn to be an Alpha without getting out of control, and most dog problems will get resolved without need of ANY weapon.

There will always be that very small percentage that actually are truly aggressive. They are a different story, but again more exposure will help you to better recognize the dogs that really are threats.

April 24, 2011, 12:14 PM
if the dog isn't attacking me i really don't want to get charged with a firearms violation.

it's kinda like playing rambo in the recent tucson shooting, should i take a chance on a headshot at 25yds, when i'm not involved or leave it for le.

April 25, 2011, 12:51 PM
The most fearless, loathsome, dangerous, nastiest dog I've every encountered was Brownie - my grandmother's Miniature Mexican Chihuahua. Didn't have to shoot him, just booted him across the room. After that he didn't bother me.

Big Yac
April 25, 2011, 10:49 PM
I was checking gas meters in a very bad part of town full of pitbulls, not being allowed to ccw I took to wearing a large can of bear mace, I never had to use it but felt comfort knowing I had it. Also, you said you were driving, instead of shooting the dog, why not swerve at it?

April 25, 2011, 11:13 PM
You people that put animals above humans make me sick. Its just a dog get over it. It all boils down to this, if you love your dog so much keep control over it and I wont shoot it.

April 26, 2011, 02:55 PM
The mail man delivers mail in the city, he carries pepper spray. Many get bit even with that.

Police are looking for a pit bull now in Omaha bit the face of a little girl. Owner took dog and is in hiding. Now if dog dont show I bet the girl will also have to undergo the shots for rabies as my brother did.

Bad stuff. Pet lovers will deny almost everything, look at the chimp took the face off that gal. Owner denied all. But she also stabbed the chimp trying to get it off her friend.

If you love your pet, keep it secure, dont let it run around. It may not bite someone but it may get hit by a car which is real bad.

April 27, 2011, 05:43 PM
It's the same with dogs. More exposure and interaction with them provide higher comfort levels; comfort levels build confidence; dogs (like women - okay, men, too but women tend to rank it higher in surveys) respect confidence.

Learn to be an Alpha without getting out of control, and most dog problems will get resolved without need of ANY weapon.

You clearly know a lot about dogs, I respect that. I've owned many over the years, some that included breeds that require a lot of training and confidence. With all due respect I wouldn't expect a stranger to know how to assume alpha status over my dogs. That's why I'm always with my dogs if they're outside.

There will always be that very small percentage that actually are truly aggressive. They are a different story, but again more exposure will help you to better recognize the dogs that really are threats.

I agree. But in the worst case scenario you have only seconds to make that determination, and in my experience the problem often occurs when you have you own dog or child to consider too. I wouldn't expect a stranger to risk his health if one of my dogs charged him on the street, it's my job to keep them under my complete control. If I can't, then I have failed them.

April 27, 2011, 06:07 PM
Mainah, you are right. Even so, I have had good luck or good reads to date. When I am older, or lose mobility, my defaults may change.

I still think sticks and sprays are safer for the neighbors, though.

April 28, 2011, 08:28 AM
I was walking on a sidewalk once and a group of young men were walking toward me and the young man in the lead had a pit bull on a very long lease - about a 8' leash. I stepped way off the sidewalk, actually almost 10 feet off the sidewalk. When the dog approached it was growling and straining at the lease to get to me and the group got near me the leader said "That was the smartest thing you ever did homes..."

To me this was a very clear threat.

If someone had made a similar threat by waving a firearm, it's obviously a crime and punishable. But using a dangerous animal in a similar way is much harder to prove that it was used in a threatening manner and the penalties are much less severe than threatening someone with a firearm.

I was in a city that had some of the very most restrictive firearms law in the nation and I was not carrying.

I actually wouldn't advocate carrying a firearm just so someone could stay on the sidewalk and see what played out... I would have gotten off the sidewalk whether I'd been carrying or not.

But when that pit bull was pulling on the lease to get to me, I was looking around for someplace to run, I've had dogs all my life and my German Shepherd once broke a leash just because she was happy to see my mom. So I know collars and leashes can break, and I was in this situation where there is this extremely powerful and vicious animal trying to get to me and the owner is chuckling about it and I have no place to run to.

When it was over I felt humiliated and victimized by that gang, and I felt angry. I also realized I was in a totally helpless situation and it happened so quickly. I just kept thinking "Man I wished I'd had my 9 on me..." Not out of anger to cow those punks or hurt the animal, it was just at that moment when I looked around and realized I had no where to run to if that kid let go of the leash or it broke, or slipped out of his hands or whatever... that was a bad feeling.

May 2, 2011, 05:50 PM
Local law really does prevail. Also, local "enforcement". Where I live, it is illegal to let your dog outside without a leash (very strict leash law). However, more than half the houses in my neighborhood with dogs have invisible dog fence. Everyone lets their dog out without a leash. LEO's drive by and don't do anything. Neighbors don't say anything. I NEVER take my dogs outside without a leash. Just a responsible dog owner, I guess. I would never set my dogs up to fail. My dogs are trained extremely well, also. You never know...even the sweetest dog can bite/attack. It's only a matter of time before a dog strikes in my neighborhood. The only person who will win is the attorney pleading the leash law.

May 9, 2011, 11:44 AM
I guess I will put in my two cents worth here. I work as a telephone technician, I am the guy who shows up when your phone or internet doesn't work, so I get to see and deal with lots and lots of dogs. Very often the owners aren't home or the dog is at a location other than the customers home. Telephone trouble can be anywhere between the customers home and the source miles away.
My experience with dogs is that shouting at or speaking to the dog doesn't help and usually makes the dog more excited. Can't tell you how many times people that couldn't be home have told me on the phone, "the dogs name is Sparky, just call him by his name and it will be ok." How many times has calling the dog by his name helped? Zero. So, remain silent, verbalizing will only amp the dog up. If the dog will respond to verbalizations, it was never a threat in the first place.
If a dog charges aggressively toward you, stand up straight, chest out, facing almost directly at it but at a very slight angle. Take one step and only one step toward the dog. Look at the dog, but do not look into its eyes directly or stare it down. Do NOT verbalize. Important, head up, chest out. Try to remain clam and project an aura of calm power. When you do this, watch the dogs demeanor, 99.9% of the time you will see a change in its attitude. Usually you will see its hindquarters drop slightly or a change in ear position as it slows its approach. If you do, what I have said and the dog doesn't alter his approach or aspect, you are probably in deep doo doo and all options should be on the table.
If the dog does alter its approach, you very probably don't have a truly viscious dog on your hands. However, you aren't out of the woods yet. Never turn your back on a dog that has charged you, it will try to bite you the moment your back is turned. Try to remain calm, don't try to leave immediately, stay facing the dog for a minute, then slowly calmly back away while still remaining in an upright assertive posture. Always face the dog. Once you get backed away far enough the dog will usually disengage and you can then leave.
If you are charged by more than one dog at the same time, you are in deep doo doo. Dogs are pack hunters and one of them will try to get behind you and attack you from behind while the other keeps you distracted from the front.
Pepper spray is good and I have used it on several dogs to good effect. That being said, you can't count on it, as I have seen a couple of dogs that acted like I was spraying them with candy for all the effect it had.
As for hitting one with a stick, good luck. Try hitting a cattle dog with a stick. These things are fast beyond belief and have been bred to avoid the kicking hooves of cattle. Getting a good hit with pepper spray is hard enough.
I have not found most pit bulls or rotties to be particularly viscious, but due to their size and power you have to nonetheless be especially carefull of the big breeds. I hope this helps. It has worked for me. Your mileage may vary. Good luck.

May 9, 2011, 02:47 PM
First of all I live in the country..only house on my road..and I don't have a dog...always wanted one of those timber wolves :)...but I greww up playing with them..rough rolling around letting dogs chew on me..similar to what someone had said earlier in the thread with no cops showing up at the ending...I have had several dogs run up to me growling..but I knew they w as bluffing...funny enough though..I have never seen a little dog bluff they always try to sink there little teeth into you..but they dnt even require kicking...harmless really..and if I was walking down the street in town and somones dog came running at me I dnt think my .45 would be the answer I would have my knife at the ready but I know the dog would probably get a few feet away and just growl slobber and try to tell me who the tough guy is lol..and it wouldn't bother me..but I would have been prepared ...now the same situation ..im walkin down the street with my little 5 year old niece and a 40+ pound dog comes running up at us growling and such I would shoot it when it got about 8 feet away...I wouldnt put her life in danger $250000.00 or not...and the owner callin the cops is cool with me..him raising hell is cool with me but the 8 feet rule applies to him as well and I would let him know that...I love dogs...love my neice more..I would never forgive myself if one of the dogs I used to have ran up and killed some little girl...and I would be sad for the loss of my dog..but happy the child is safe..now if someone was walking in my yard which they have no business here in the first place and shot my future wolf then I would in turn shoot the dude..I live out in the boodocks..it would be different if I lived in the city....

May 30, 2011, 01:14 AM
In florida if that dog was aggressively biting another person, youd be justified in using deadly force against the dog.

May 30, 2011, 01:24 AM

May 30, 2011, 01:53 AM
OK, the cow almost getting tazered made me go look on YouTube and

Ta Daa !


Bull get tazered.