Pit Bull shooting, Will the police seize my gun?


October 10, 2006, 12:03 AM
I received a call from my business, a small nursing home, informing me that a dog was on the porch, not allowing one of my residents to return. They had called the pound but had gotten no response.

I arrive and find that it is not just any dog, but a large, Beautiful Pit bull. Now normally I find this breed attractive and useful for certain circumstances (right tool, right job sort of thing) but this time, it was in the wrong place with confused intentions. For some reason, this dog was guarding my porch. The old man that was earlier trying to get back inside the building had gotten frightened by the dog. The dog was sniffing around, as dogs do, and the old, sometimes confused, man had reached back to swat the dog away. This was met by a convincing growl and bare teeth. The man's confusion gave way to better sense and he kicked his electric wheelchair into high gear for a hasty retreat (Praise God!).

So now it's time for me to intervene, having just arrived on the scene. This dog, initially backs down from me, but over time apparently becomes comfortable and begins to try to return to his post on my porch. At one point, he runs off and begins to play catch with my friend who was with me when I received the call.

This dog is definately confused and frightened with all that is going on. (This actually frightens me more, to be around a frightened dog, especially one with his obvious strength and potential)

This entire time, I have been on my cell phone, explaining the situation, especially that this is happening at a NURSING HOME, and I finally stated that I was going to have to shoot this dog, for the safety of my residents.

In less than five minutes, on a holiday, after hours, the dog catcher arrives.

Now, this dog knew the uniform of the local dog catcher, and bolted for the fence and was under it in a flash.

The dog catcher leaves and then returns when I call again that the dog is back. I left for home, as all of my residents are in bed, but I have a question.

If the dog catcher is unable to capture this dog, and I have to shoot him in the morning, will the police seize my gun?

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October 10, 2006, 12:18 AM
At one point, he runs off and begins to play catch with my friend
hardly sounds like a real threat

October 10, 2006, 12:24 AM
Just because he might have been acting nice for one moment doesn't mean he's not a threat. The grownling, barred teeth, and territoriality could be threatening. The dog may be ill or unstable. If it indeed does threaten people, you should not hesitate to fire, just as you would any intuder or human threat to life. And I doubt the police will confiscate your weapons for protecting people. I guess it depends on where you live. If you are in NY, CA, or other similar places, you just might meet some cops who won't hesitate to take your guns. But I would bet your average police officer in normal America won't.

October 10, 2006, 12:28 AM
The police have the power to seize your firearm if they have probable cause to believe that it has been used in the commission of a crime (even if justifiable).

Is the nursing home within city limits? Are you familiar with your local animal cruelty laws?

I know this wasn't the answer you were looking for, but please shoot the dog only as a last resort. Your post suggests that it wasn't a stray, so somebody somewhere really loves that mutt. If you don't think the dog is vicious, and you're generally comfortable with canines, you probably can get a leash on it by luring it onto "neutral" territory with toys and treats.

Best of luck :(

October 10, 2006, 12:30 AM
This is a great time to have a suppressor.

October 10, 2006, 12:40 AM
If you can articulate an actual threat (I've shot many dogs for chasing livestock or wildlife), do what you need to do; I wish you the best of luck. I don't think I'd shoot him unless he was attacking or seriously menacing a person.

Chances are good the gun would be siezed as evidence for a charge of : firing within city limits, criminal mischief, animal cruelty, etc; anything is possible. If you win your case it could be returned to you.

October 10, 2006, 12:42 AM
I'd shoot it, what if this dog were to suddenly do the pit bull thing and lock onto a target? It doesn't sound like anyone was close enough to actually stop this from happening. This isn't something you can't risk and I would rather have to worry about talking to a judge over shooting the dog than have someone hurt or killed. These dogs find a single target and lock on and I am sure a few people will get upset but I have seen it myself.

Just shoot it.

October 10, 2006, 12:47 AM
Use somebody else's gun.


October 10, 2006, 01:02 AM
Haven't you ever wondered why someone would buy a $100 Hi Point pistol??? :D

October 10, 2006, 01:08 AM
Next time just play fetch with the dog and tell the residents to not try to attack the dog.
Treat it kindly and this dog will most likely "do the PitBull thing" and appreciate the human interaction as they are prone to do. I have seen this myself

October 10, 2006, 01:16 AM
If you expect that there's a chance the animal will return, you might consider picking up a can of pepper spray to use as an initial deterrent.

Only use the handgun if you have no other options left.

October 10, 2006, 01:24 AM
I don't suppose tranquilizer guns/darts are legal to buy?

Jery Larson
October 10, 2006, 01:25 AM
This is a perfect instance of the useful tool known as, "boy's best friend" (an air-rifle). When applied in the hands of a concerned adult, with proper motives, it can save the life of a "man's best friend."

October 10, 2006, 01:42 AM
I would say give the dog catcher a bit more time to capture the animal, it will save you trouble in the end.

October 10, 2006, 01:53 AM
If the only tool in your box is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Use a different (and more appropriate) tool.

Try pepperspray, then nothing has to die and your gun isn't seized.

October 10, 2006, 02:07 AM
I thought that the punch line was gonna be " so should I change my oil every 3000 or every 5000 miles"

October 10, 2006, 08:52 AM
1. Most likely, the police would at least temporarily take possession of the firearm.
2. As others have said. Since this dog seems friendly and a little confused, try some non-lethal alternatives. I've used a garden hose with a high pressure nozzle to run off a barking/growling dog before. I've used a BB rifle to run off coyotes. I don't know how well pepper spray will work.
3. As others have said, own a cheap pistol for this kind of job. I have a S&W 64 and a Star BM for these kinds of situations. Both cost less that $150 (and are fun to shoot).

October 10, 2006, 09:11 AM
this dog knew the uniform of the local dog catcher

Tell the dog catcher to come over in deep cover complete with a frisbee. He'll be in the back of the van in no time.

I take it you didn't see a collar with a license/ID on it. But to answer your question, I'd guess they might take your gun, at least up front while they make a determination that you didn't commit any crime. But as someone mentioned, be sure you can even discharge a firearm in that location...

Heavy Barrel
October 10, 2006, 09:11 AM
There are as many common sense solutions here as there are stupid ones.:rolleyes: Pick one that makes sense to you."THINK"

shooting time
October 10, 2006, 09:17 AM
he is most likely someones pet who got out and is lost .I wouldn't shoot him I wouldn't want someone to shoot my pet if he got out

Keith Wheeler
October 10, 2006, 09:27 AM
I live in a semi-rural area, and it almost seems like nuisance dogs are a constant issue. I've got some plastic 9mm "practice" ammunition. It's interesting stuff, the case and "bullet" are molded from one piece of plastic. The only propellant is a primer. Upon firing the "bullet" breaks away from the "case". Great for nuisance animals, once they're popped with one of these they tend not to come back. It keeps me from having to clean up a mess and deal with potentially killing someone's poorly attended to pet.

October 10, 2006, 09:35 AM
Next time don't call animal control.
Call the LEO's and tell then you're prepared to shoot a dangerous animal.


October 10, 2006, 09:47 AM
As bad as I am about shooting nuisance animals, I do not believe it would be justified yet.

I tend to shoot pits,among other dogs, every so often, because while they are generally very people freindly, they are not livestock freindly.

Have your freind who played catch with the dog see if he can slip a leash on the dog. If nothing else try to pen it in an enclosed space by luring it with food.

Shooting is already justified in my opinion, but I would try other means first, unless you feel that that the residents are in real danger from the dog or that the dog is causing significant disruption.

October 10, 2006, 10:16 AM
Pitbul 101

Approach the dog with authority. Be almost aloof. Point index finger at the dog and tell him to sit. Dont ask him to sit, tell him to sit. Give the dog a bite to eat and youll make a friend for life. Once all this is done you should be able to easily put a leash and collar on him and take him to the pound.

Pitbulls are very strong minded smart dogs. If you are tentative when you give them instructions they wont listen to you.

One huge misunderstanding about the breed is that they are unstable. They are very predictable, for the most part only abused, or neglected pitbulls are hostile to humans.

Pitbulls were bred to fight dogs. He was bred so that his handler could reach into the fray of the fight and pull the dog out without fearing the loss of an arm.

I certainly wouldnt shoot him. I would take him to the vet and find out what type of injury he has. Im guessing he was struck by a car. In my experience thats why the pit growled when the old man threatened to swat him. And yes, even a hurt pitbull will play because its fun. They have a remarkable tolerance to pain and an equally large desire to please humans.

I found a pit once who had her leg torn off in a fight. Her handler must have dumped her after that. She allowed me to doctor her wounds without a sound and very little protest. She lived to be 14 and was a great friend to my family.

October 10, 2006, 10:19 AM
Sounds like the dog isnt a threat to me, and your just itching to shoot the thing. Dont do it! Its probably someones pet which got loose. Call animal control, and if they dont come out call the police.

October 10, 2006, 10:38 AM
One huge misunderstanding about the breed is that they are unstable. They are very predictable, for the most part only abused, or neglected pitbulls are hostile to humans.
A dog which has been left alone long enough to select someone else's porch to 'guard,' and whose owner hasn't come looking for it over the course of several hours, and which recognizes the dogcatcher's uniform, is very likely going to be one of these.

That's probably why the general public perceives pitbulls as unstable. The ones running around unsupervised ... are.


October 10, 2006, 10:42 AM
This thread seems likely to be taken off topic by the competing views of "pit bulls are the sweetest dogs and would never harm a soul" to "pit bulls are the work of the devil and kill anything in sight".

The real story is that any individual pit bull can be either. The problem is there is no way for anyone to know which type of temperament the dog is likely to have.

Your problem is protecting the lives of people who cannot protect themselves. You need to decide if the dog is a threat to those people. If he is, then you deal with the threat, in a way that is safe for you. The safety of the dog is not an issue in these kinds of decisions.

If the dog presents a threat and the only safe means you have to deal with him is to shoot him, then blast away. Try to kill him with one shot. No need to inflict extra pain on the animal.

OTOH, he may well be someone's pet that got loose, and he is just scared. You might be able to convince him with a treat and some water to allow you to put a leash on him and hold him for the animal control people.

HOWEVER, regardless of any desire to save the dog, you know nothing of his temperament. Take no chances with amateur dog behavior advice off the Internet. Protect yourself and those you feel you have some obligation to protect. The dog is not even on the list of things you have an obligation to protect.

Zach S
October 10, 2006, 10:46 AM
Given the circumstances, I wouldnt shoot.

If you do shoot it, expect for the police to take your handgun at least untill they finish thier paperwork. Beyond that is a shot in the dark.

I shot a raccoon here (Asheville NC) a while back. Since I live in the suburbs, I called to let them know what happened, rather than the local LEOs getting a call about "shots fired in a residential neighborhood." They didnt even send a car out. Animal Control never made an appearance either. I dont know if it would be any different with a dog, and to be honest, I'd rather not find out.

October 10, 2006, 11:05 AM
It seems that this may not be the place for me. I thought the idea was saving the old from a pit bull that he didnt want to shoot. Someone said to smash its head with a hammer in a post before so I thought I would post another method. I am pretty sure smashing ones head with a hammer would also be on the other side of the law as well is shooting them with bb guns, But sense that fits into the manly thing to do its ok and didnt meet with the disapprovel that I got. I dont have time to sit and watch the chickens or new born calves all day and all night with whatever varmit gun is ok with all of you so I did what I did. You feel free to judge me but recall that I got judged and none others.

October 10, 2006, 11:08 AM
Yup. I lost my 20 year old Whippet-Lab cross a year and a half ago to anti freeze. It wasn't a pretty way to go.
I found the culprit.
He payed a tall price for my dog's life.


October 10, 2006, 11:14 AM
So if your dogs head would have been smashed with a hammer all would have been well. or if its eye would have been shoot out with a bb gun still nobody upset....

October 10, 2006, 11:16 AM
Just skip it!! someone tell a mod or admin to cancel my login and delete me I have started off on the wrong foot and will not recover

October 10, 2006, 11:21 AM
Nope, none of that would've been alright either although that wouldn't be possible for someone to do because I'm always with my dogs and could have stopped those actions. I can't stop some cowardly, heartless SOB from throwing poisoned hamburger over my fence during the night.
Just ain't right...


October 10, 2006, 11:24 AM

Legal or not, I agree that antifreeze is a despicable method of getting rid of pests. There are better poisons out there, that can often be legally planted if you read your state laws concerning them. Along with perfectly legal methods involving wounded rabbit calls and high powered rifles.

I am not a dog hater, I have my own dogs that I love to death. But many times mans best freind starts becoming an issue for rural people with livestock. They do have to be dealt with. My post is not intended to denigrate this thread into another dog killer/dog lover thread.

October 10, 2006, 11:28 AM
Just skip it!! someone tell a mod or admin to cancel my login and delete me I have started off on the wrong foot and will not recover

Just create a new account and start over...

October 10, 2006, 11:29 AM
I said you win I quit ok

Heavy Barrel
October 10, 2006, 11:32 AM
There are legal and humane ways to deal with the problem,Find one.As for poisioning or shooting my dog,pray to god I would never catch up with you!

October 10, 2006, 11:32 AM
"Just skip it!! someone tell a mod or admin to cancel my login and delete me I have started off on the wrong foot and will not recover"

Yup see ya, Slick!

Dont let the door hit your ass on the way out!

Gordon Fink
October 10, 2006, 11:35 AM
Iím not one of these fanatical dog lovers, but I doubt shooting your stray is warranted at this point. Some human had better be bleeding first, or you may find yourself in a world of trouble. Let your animal-control officers earn their keep.

~G. Fink

October 10, 2006, 11:35 AM
Bowl of dog food, chew toy, some sort of treat in one hand; choke collar and lead in the other. Be the alpha dog, take control, give him a treat and collar him, secure the lead. Sounds like the worst aspect of this dog is that he, and the people around him, are confused.

May be some pepper spray in your pocket...

October 10, 2006, 11:40 AM
Since it is a lone pit, if you must kill it, use a break open 12 ga. Enough gun, you won't mind losing it and it appears benign. Don't be swayed by the BS, the family of any of your "residents" will HAVE YOUR ASS if their loved one gets attacked at your facility. Shoot the dog with the first threat. Joe

October 10, 2006, 11:46 AM
There are legal and humane ways to deal with the problem,Find one.As for poisioning or shooting my dog,pray to god I would never catch up with you!


Never mind the dog. Beware of owner.

Besides, this dog is hardly a threat. Look up a local breed-rescue organization. There are many. I'd happily rescue the dog myself, if I were near you; others will, too, just to keep what seems like a good-natured but confused dog from being shot or put down by the pound.

Start here:

I'm not so paranoid, because I'm used to dogs now. Before I knew them, I, too was more easily made apprehensive about their intentions.

Aggie's Revenge
October 10, 2006, 11:47 AM
OC works great on pitbulls. If you spray him anytime he comes around he will learn not to show up.

October 10, 2006, 11:50 AM
Thank you for all of your viewpoints on this volatile issue.

Several of my staff have been able to get friendly with this animal, but when they go to the next step of trying to place a rope/chain on the dog's collar, he reacts negatively.

I am certain that it IS someone's pet, and I do not wish to destroy it, but my first responsibility is to my residents.

I do have the pepper spray, and a broom, and a commanding voice, and unpoisoned meat and a .357, and a 12guage. I do consider things a great deal prior to acting on anything. Each of these tools are available to me for the proper use in the particular situation that arises.

I was simply asking if, given the circumstances, I needed to bring an inexpensive gun, just in case the police wish to impound the one that I use, should the need arise. Merely a procedural question.

The route that we are currently pursuing involves a canine trap that the dog-catcher is going to provide. Also, one of my employees thinks that she knows where this dog's owner lives. So I plan to go to his/her home in a few minutes and explain the situation to them.

October 10, 2006, 11:52 AM
Sounds like a good plan, Hobbeeman.


Aggie's Revenge
October 10, 2006, 12:00 PM

There are two things to be concerned with if you do have to shoot the dog.

1) is the a city ordanance against discharging a firearm in city limits.
2) can you prove beyond any doubt, someones life was in danger and after you shot the dog, that it did not suffer.

Those two issues will decide if the police take your gun. If the officer wants to be an ass, then the yes he will.

We deal with this issue all the time. However, we only handle unincorporated areas. Very rarely have we ever had to take a firearm for someone shooting a dog. When we have had to, it was becaue the shooter acted in a criminal manner. ( ie fired in reckless manner, missed the dog and put a bullet in the neighbors trailer.)

October 10, 2006, 12:01 PM
Dog is around nursing home, this is ok
Dog is if owned unsupervised and acting "confused", not ok
Dog has taken to considering a porch as his, not ok
Dog has growled and shown other threatning behavior to residents, not ok
Said residents are elderly or otherwise less then capable of fending off an attack, not ok

Personally (depending on local law*) I'd shoot the damn thing. Dog shows threatning behaviour and isn't properly supervised and is a threat to people under my charge who aren't exactly in the best physical ability, to bad so sad if it's little timmys dog. Maybe the next one will be better taken care of and trained.

*If local law will cause issues such as discharging in city limits, rules specific for shooting a problem animal, etc I would give the dog catcher some more time untill there was an immediate threat and I would be legally justified.

Spreadfire Arms
October 10, 2006, 12:02 PM
i think i can agree with moderator Justin regarding the use of pepper spray first, before resorting to a firearm.

i use about 2 cans of pepper spray a month on all dogs, not just pit bulls. spray them right in the nose and they'll run and wipe their nose on the ground for about 5 minutes. i used a pepper fogger on a pit bull attacking another dog in someone's house (the pit bull somehow ended up in a neighbor's house and attacked their animal) - it turned the pit bull into an instant piece of luggage....just closed its eyes and didn't move.

there are times when a bullet isn't exactly smart, be it in the city or out in the country. cranking a round off at a moving object, with other persons in the background, can be a recipe for an accidental shooting. the last thing you want to do is shoot someone when you tried to shoot a dog.

pepper spray isnt permanent and generally the dog will leave, or at least, leave you alone until the dog catcher arrives.

shooting a dog is always a last resort for me. if you're in city limits they may be an ordinance against it, if you're in the county you're probably okay. but always remember, that dog might have an owner and that owner might sick his lawyer on you. be it right or wrong, just the thought of having to be dragged into civil court and waste a day or two defending yourself civilly may be reason enough not to pull the trigger unless all other resources are exhausted.

from personal experience i always use pepper spray first on a dog.

October 10, 2006, 12:05 PM
Heavy barrel

I am assuming this remark is aimed at me. I made my post for ARKIESTEEL about dog control.

I live in rural oklahoma. I raise cattle. The primary intended use of the land I live on is to raise livestock. Most of my neighbors for the surrounding few miles raise livestock.

If you are a close neighbor of mine and I recognize your dog, I will not shoot it unless it is running cattle. If it is running cattle and I recognize it, trust me, your dead dog will be the least of your worries. I will ring your doorbell and hand you the remains of your dog, and I will have a deputy in tow. You definately will not like the damage assessment. Odds are, I am going to make a claim for every piece of livestock I have lost in the past year against you. The silly thing is, it will probably fly.

I do not poison dogs for amusement, nor shoot them for thrills. I am trying to start a herd. That little calf that a loose dog can maim or kill is worth about three months of what I can get ahead by working if I could have gotten it to market at weight. Are you willing to throw away three months of your work every time some idiot cant keep his dog under control?

If you do not like it, keep your dog at home, not at the tender mercies of a jerk like me.

Consider that I have the law absolutely on my side when I shoot a dog, and the original poster does not and is trying to find a solution. I already posted that I did not want to take this OT before you replied. We are in two totally different situations.

I do like dogs, do not get me wrong. In the case of the pit bull in question I have already stated to use other means before shooting the dog if possible.

In other words, step away from the keyboard until your testosterone level falls to normal levels.

October 10, 2006, 12:15 PM
And on that note...

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