Shooting a Dog on your property?


December 30, 2004, 03:59 PM
****Hypothetical Situation Brought About By Actual Events****

Lets say that you get a new neighbor. Prior to them moving in fully they inform all the neigbors they have a German Shepherd that bites. They put up a chain link fence but does nothing to keep the dog in the yard. It is always escaping. Well lets say i am working in the yard or the garden and i see the dog (that i have already been informed BITES) approaching me. I have no where to go or i try to get away and it charges at me. And i shoot it in fear of a 100+lb German Shepherd tearing me a new one. Would there be any legal recourse if this were to occur?

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December 30, 2004, 04:03 PM
Tell us what the jury says. :)

Seriously, what are you asking: "Would there be any legal recourse?" Do you mean, "Will the government try to prosecute me for shooting a dog near houses that are inhabited with people?"


R.H. Lee
December 30, 2004, 04:05 PM
IANAL. If the dog bites you, you have a cause of action against your neighbor for personal injury, pain and suffering. If you shoot the dog, the neighbor has a cause of action against you for destroying their property and emotional/psychological damage inflicted. Either way, a court would have to sort it out.

If it were me, I would get to know the neighbors and the dog. I would want the dog to recognize me as a non hostile alpha. MANY dogs will turn around and go home when you yell "GO HOME" at them. Dogs seem to understand this command.

A reasonable person would look for a way around either being bitten or shooting the dog.

That's just my opinion, others may vary.

December 30, 2004, 04:08 PM
A lot of variables ,jurisdiction etc. If the dog attacks you, you have every right to shoot it. However find the laws first . Is a dog required to be on a leash etc. Then when you see violations document with camera, call police. Before that of course you should have a calm discussion with your neighbor about keeping the dog inside the fence since it's always a good idea to be on good terms with your neighbor !!

December 30, 2004, 04:12 PM
Well, as with everything, it depends.

If you're working with a rake or another long handled tool, you might be on a better legal footing if you used that to keep the dog back. If the dog is acting aggressively, and you fear for your well-being, do what you have to do.

I have a couple of dogs across the street that are left to run loose. I've almost run them over a couple of times. The owners and I aren't on great terms because I don't like to listen to their music inside my house at all hours of the night, and have made that known to them more than once. Anyway, the dogs bother me, and when going to the community mailbox a couple doors down, they will occasionally follow me, but not in a nice tail wagging way. It's becoming an issue.

December 30, 2004, 04:13 PM
First question to be answered is: what is the city ordinance about discharging firearms in a residential area? Next, what was the legality of your having access to said firearm, and having access to said firearm in public? Was you carry (concealed or otherwise) in full compliance with State & City laws?
Now prove the new neighbors told you the animal has a history of biting. Just for fun, ask if State/local Animal Control has already cited them and issued written instructions about controling Rin Tin Tin. Did they comply with those instructions?
Who saw the dog loose and on your property? Can they vouch for your inability to retreat?
Who saw you shoot the dog? Where were they in relation to the line of fire and in relation to your line of sight?
:eek: Why are you posing this question on a public forum, when it will come back to bite you worse than any dog will, if you in fact shoot the neighbor's dog? "People" will say you were fishing for support of your premeditated plan to shoot the beast regardless of circumstances or provocation.
In short, while you may evade criminal law problems if the events go down, you probably will not steer clear of civil law complications from the dog's owner, the mommy across the street, or your kids' playgroup partners.

While it may be fun to soar with the eagles, no weasel has ever been sucked into a jet intake. ((c), TM/SM 19xx - 20xx)

2nd Amendment
December 30, 2004, 04:24 PM
Seems the real question is whether you ARE in city limits. If not then the neighbor should have kept his dog penned. I've dropped three this year. The only guy that whined received the corpse of one of the chickens his mutt had killed and I asked him if he wanted a bill for the other six...that was the end of that.

December 30, 2004, 05:03 PM
If you were on your own property, in most places you would be allowed to carry. Not sure about your state, but in FL, you are allowed to use deadly force "when you are in fear for your life or to prevent great bodily harm to yourself or another." I once saw a Rottweiler belonging to the new next door neighbor charging across my yard at me as I left my house. I was carrying and I stepped behind my car and prepared. Just as the dog reached my car, the neighbor quietly called the dog's name and he stopped just short of death. I was really p.o.ed at the guy, and told him so, and what just about happened. We later became good friends, and the dog left with daughter.
Yes I would have shot him, to protect myself from death, or great bodily harm. I was scared as hell, and don't mind saying so. It would not have been my fault, but the fault of the owner.
Cops shoot dogs all the time to protect themselves. We have the same rights when threatened. Police are bound by the law on deadly force the same as anyone else.

December 30, 2004, 05:13 PM
instead of trolling for free legal advice from anonymous sources on non-legal forums. Free legal advice is generally overpriced.

My state, although virulently anti-gun, still has a statue expressly authorizing the killing of a dog not on its owner's land, not under its owners control, attacking domestic animals or humans. My town also has a leash law.

There are, of course, statutes about shooting w/i 500' of a residence, etc. However, the specific trumps the general, and a statute expressly authorizing the use of deadly force to protect one's own life or property against a rampaging dog would seem to easily trump a more general statute against letting neighborhoods become free-fire zones.

If I see on dog on my land attacking my cat and can get to my gun before the dog gets to my cat, there will likely be one less canine nuisance in my neighborhood. And I'll take that to a jury. :fire:

December 30, 2004, 05:29 PM
folks this 100% hypothetical i have neighbors who are getting ready to move in and forewarned us about the dog. that is all the rest was just something that i conjured up in my mind. i have no plans of shooting the dog nor has it ever been in my yard or agressive towards me. it is completely a what if scenerio much like a zombie SHTF thread just on a more reasonable level.

not looking for legal advice just different i deas as to what could happen, like many that have been posted.

December 30, 2004, 05:48 PM
FWIW...I've had a similar situation. Now, everybody wants to get along....well, everybody OUGHT to want to get along, and that's the problem

when the jerk says "I have a dog and it bites", what he's saying is "I want this dog and I know it could maime you or your family or friends, but I don't really care". His desire for the dog trumps your safety in his mind. He needs an attitude adjustment.

I'd make it real clear up front what happens to the dog on my property. I currently have a neighbor across the road that has a dog that runs across my yard once in a while. He's not a threat, so it's no big deal. Any vicious dog on my property is one dead mutt. Don't rant, rave, or threaten. Be calm and clear, but specific.

I love dogs, and I'd do most anything to help my neighbors, but getting bit by a dog isn't part of the program.

December 30, 2004, 06:25 PM
when the jerk says "I have a dog and it bites", what he's saying is "I want this dog and I know it could maime you or your family or friends, but I don't really care". His desire for the dog trumps your safety in his mind. He needs an attitude adjustment. Or he could just be acting as a good responsible dog owner and neighbor.
" I have a dog that bites, so don't try coming over unannounced"
"I have a dog that bites so don't try reaching over the fence to pet him"
" I have a dog that bites so make sure your kids don't try coming over to play with it"
I have a dog that bites just thought I tell you so that if for some reason he should get out of the fence you won't try to grab him by the neck and escort him home"

Not all warnings are threats Not all owners of defensive dogs are ignorant and self centered.

December 30, 2004, 07:07 PM
Ohio has an "absolute liability" law concerning dogs; so yes as long as the law hasn't been changed. From the horses mouth:

ORC Ann. 955.28 (Anderson 2002)
§ 955.28 Dog may be killed for certain acts; owner liable for damages.

(A) Subject to divisions (A)(2) and (3) of section 955.261 [955.26.1] of the Revised Code, a dog that is chasing or approaching in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack, that attempts to bite or otherwise endanger, or that kills or injures a person or a dog that chases, injures, or kills livestock, poultry, other domestic animal, or other animal, that is the property of another person, except a cat or another dog, can be killed at the time of that chasing, approaching, attempt, killing, or injury. If, in attempting to kill such a dog, a person wounds it, he is not liable to prosecution under the penal laws which punish cruelty to animals.

(B) The owner, keeper, or harborer of a dog is liable in damages for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that is caused by the dog, unless the injury, death, or loss was caused to the person or property of an individual who, at the time, was committing or attempting to commit a trespass or other criminal offense on the property of the owner, keeper, or harborer, or was committing or attempting to commit a criminal offense against any person, or was teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog on the owner's, keeper's, or harborer's property.

December 30, 2004, 07:17 PM

December 30, 2004, 08:30 PM
Read the original...the dog is on my property, I have nowhere to go....

now, if you're ignorant enough to reach across the fence to pet an unknown, potentially dangerous dog and get bit, it's your problem

if there's a "Beware of Dog" sign and you go in anyway, it's your choice the original again...the dog's on MY property, threatening me or my family..

long ago Robert Frost said "good fences make good neighbors"...wise words

Standing Wolf
December 30, 2004, 08:41 PM
In my yard, it'd be a dead dog P.D.Q. If you've ever seen scars from dog bites, you'll know why.

December 30, 2004, 09:17 PM
I was obviously replying to your post.Especially this part which I highlighted. Maybe you should reread my post and your's
when the jerk says "I have a dog and it bites", what he's saying is "I want this dog and I know it could maime you or your family or friends, but I don't really care". His desire for the dog trumps your safety in his mind. He needs an attitude adjustment.

The issue of the dog on YOUR property has been covered by others.

Maybe you should reread the original and his second post where he clearly states that this is all hypothetical. So far all the guy has done is tell him that he has a dog that bites.

December 30, 2004, 09:21 PM
Prior to them moving in fully they inform all the neigbors they have a German Shepherd that bites.

I find that refreshing. If I had a dollar for every person who tells me that their hunched, snarling dog with ears pinned back wouldn't hurt a fly, I'd be wealthy and retired. If someone is honest enough to tell you their dog bites, do what you have to do.

December 30, 2004, 09:35 PM
I have only been bitten once by a dog that I was told was a biter, only because I thought they were talking about the other dog.

I've been bitten more than a few times by those non-biting wouldn't hurt a fly dogs.

I've seen those scars Standing Wolf mentioned. They're on my right butt cheek.

December 30, 2004, 10:02 PM
Crowley, that is an excellent law and I enjoyed reading it.

So basically:
-you can shoot dogs that are attacking your family and livestock, but you cant if they are just fighting/chasing your dog/cat
-the owner of the dog cannot bring suit against the dog killer/wounder
-dog owners are liable for whatever bad stuff their dogs do, unless the bad stuff is done to a burglar

December 30, 2004, 10:55 PM
This happened in rural Mississippi. My mother-in-law had been plagued with the neighbors dogs for months. The land lord (my wife's uncle) had told them multiple times to chain or cage the dogs. Well....While on a weekend trip to see the in laws, my son was jumping on the trampoline and we hear him screaming. He was 8 years old at the time. I walked outside and there were two dogs barking and snarling at him (one a boxer mix and the other a blue healer). They had their paws on the edge of the trampoline like they wanted up there with him. I got my Ruger MKII out of the truck and started yelling at the dogs to get them to come toward me. When they had moved far enough away from my son and I had a good clear shot. I hit one of them, wounding it. One limped and the other ran home. Sure enough about an hour later here come the county deputies. I gave them my story and they wrote it down. Their owner's story was the dogs weren't bothering a sole and the maniac next door just shot poor fluffy for no apparent reason (apparently they were watching the whole thing). After taking my statement, my mother-in-laws statement and the land lords statement I was told I was OK. Nothing more heard about it.

The deputies told me that I could be charged with shooting a firearm within 50 feet of a residence. (they let me off with a warning because they would have done the same thing!)

My mother-in-law had new neighbors within a few weeks.

December 30, 2004, 11:19 PM
"I have a dog that bites".

Easy reply to that; "I have a lawyer that sues and a gun that shoots".

The more tactful response is, of course, "Please make certain that your dog doesn't stray out of your yard. It's a nice neighborhood and we don't need any trouble."

El Rojo
December 30, 2004, 11:20 PM
If you absolutely can, you always want to avoiding shooting anyone or anything in self-defense. It just brings about too many legal problems. However, if you club the vicious dog on your own property (just enough to stop it from attacking), you are in the clear no problem.

I highly recommend you check your own laws. Someone on here was talking about it possibly being illegal to carry in public. Well even here in the PRK you can carry on your own property all you want and you need no one's permission. And that is the whole reason for self-defense laws, to be able to defend yourself from imminent great bodily harm. I would like to know the state where a charging vicious dog is not such a situation.

But like I said, if you can avoid having to shoot, it is always best to do that. I like the idea of getting a good wooden baseball bat and going to the batting cage and practice hitting baseballs of different velocities. That should simulate the timing on a charging German shepard fairly well. :D

December 31, 2004, 09:21 AM
I was attacked in 1979 by a good sized German Shepard and I can guarantee if given the chance I will NEVER AGAIN suffer the pain and agony that I did following that attack.

I was on my property laying down some new pavers along the street and a neighbor was playing catch with a softball with his son in the middle of the street in front of both of our homes.

Each time the young son missed the ball the dog would chase the ball.

This one particular time the ball bounced on the pavement and onto the grass next to me. I, without thinking, grabbed the ball and that's what triggered this dog to attack.

I could see it about to happen and I covered my throat area with my right forearm.

The dog grabbed hold and the fight was on with the dog continually and very quickly grabbing and biting; releasing his bite grip only to bite again and again.

Neither the owner or the son did anything to try and help.

The dog only ceased his attack only after I got in a good hefty kick to his ribs and stomach area.

I suffered 19 punture wounds and three gash tears. Infection set in and my whole arm swelled up to the size of my thigh. The skin was so tightly stretched from the swelling it shined. I was in such a degree of pain, for about threee days, that I cannot describe totally.

Like I said, if I see another dog coming at me and I have a weapon the dog is about to have as bad a day as I can give it.

Simple as that. I AIN'T gonna mess around with it and I won't have any remorse about it, either.

To put salt in the wounds, so to speak, the county took the dog and kept it in quarantine and when it was determined he didn't have rabies or other diseases they released the dog back to the owner and no citation was ever issued.

December 31, 2004, 09:38 AM
Depends on the state. First, what does Ohio say about self defense? In Minnesota, it's fear of death or great bodily harm. A dog charging that you know bites is "fear or great bodily harm."

And this BS about not discharging a gun in city limits: The intent of those laws is for target shooting or hunting. It has nothing to do with a self defense situation which this clearly is. INTENT of the law is the key. You may get reckless discharge if you'd fire blindly or something, but using a gun to protect yourself on your property, highly unlikely.

December 31, 2004, 11:40 AM
To put salt in the wounds, so to speak, the county took the dog and kept it in quarantine and when it was determined he didn't have rabies or other diseases they released the dog back to the owner and no citation was ever issued.

I complain about lawyers all the time and I think people in the US are FAR to ready to sue everybody over nothing BUT I would have gone after those people with the nastiest lawyer I could find! They were right there and didn't even risk a bite by trying to help. Their insurance company would have been writing me a hefty check and covering all my medical expenses for sure!


Sam Adams
December 31, 2004, 12:13 PM
SW:In my yard, it'd be a dead dog P.D.Q. If you've ever seen scars from dog bites, you'll know why.

J:I've seen those scars Standing Wolf mentioned. They're on my right butt cheek.

Does this mean that Standing Wolf is familiar with how Joab's right butt cheek looks? :what: This thought is more alarming than the one involving a dog sinking his teeth into your butt cheek (right or left). :neener:

More seriously, if some large dog that I've been told bites comes onto my property and comes at me in a threatening manner, there will shortly thereafter be a dead dog. If my wife or, especially, my little kids are within easy biting distance, this goes double. The only question will be if I do it with a gun (i.e. if I have it on me), or whether I have to stomp, kick, strangle, beat with a shovel or otherwise do it by less quick means.

People are more important than dogs, and I offer no apologies for that attitude, most especially when it comes to MY family and someone else's dog that they know to be a biter. F'em - both the dog and the people.

December 31, 2004, 05:00 PM
OK let me clarify

I have seen the type of scars Standing Wolf mentioned.

To my knowledge he has never seen my butt cheek, left or right.

Also to clarify.
If a dog that I have been forewarned by the owner has an aggressive nature comes intomy yard or near me or mine--

I will try to give it a wide birth especially if it is not a common occurance.

If this is not possible I will defend me and mine with whatever I deem appropriate at the time. Let the lawyers sort it out later

My comments were directed at those that assume that just because you have an aggressive or defensive dog that you are an irresponsible jerk

I tell people that my dog bites just to keep people I don't know away from my house.
And I still have people reaching over my fence to pet him or just walking into my fenced in area to sell me water softenners

December 31, 2004, 05:57 PM
Just a thought, non-lethal and pretty effective against dogs.

On the other hand, I am almost always armed with a handgun of some type; I don't always carry pepper spray.

Bottom line: I don't want to be dog bit, and I'm not going to allow it to happen to m'lady wife or my manly son. End of that discussion.

December 31, 2004, 06:20 PM
The owner is aware of a potentially dangerous animal, he's already informed the neighbors that the dog bites. The neighbor can't seem to keep the dog confined, the dog continually escapes a chain-linked fence, the existence of which may imply something about the neighbor's concern about the dog's potential. In my opinion, the dog made his last mistake if he threatens me or a member of my family. Think of a child or grandchild in the yard instead of yourself and replay the scenario!

I had this very same problem a couple of years back, a neighbor had a 100+ pound German Shepard who had been trained for police work of some kind, the neighbor was a prison guard. The dog was constantly loose and harrassing the neighbors and other dogs in the neighborhood, often getting into fights with the dogs. He would run up barking and growling if he found someone going to and from their car. My daughter and grandson were living with us and on one occasion, the dog harrassed the two of them. The police were called and I told them that if the dog ever showed up in the yard again I would see to it that it was the last time it happened. The responding officer said that I would be justified in killing the animal.

Each locale has its own laws, one of which is usually some sort of "leash law" outlining what a dog owner must do to confine his dog.

December 31, 2004, 10:30 PM
Forget the dog, in California, if a reasonable person would belive he was in fear for his life, OR IN FEAR OF GREAT BODILY HARM from the offender, he could shoot the dog's owner, much less the dog.

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