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Am I justified in shooting an attacking pit bull in my back yard?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Kenneth Lew, Apr 30, 2005.

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  1. Kenneth Lew

    Kenneth Lew Member

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    Last night, a collared pit bull entered my back yard as my vehicle entered through the gate. Dog was barking and hitting my windows trying to attack my cats. Blinded dog with my flash light and wacked it over the head. Dog ran off.

    Can I legally shoot such a dog in my back yard at night?
     
  2. BryanP

    BryanP Member

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    Probably, but be prepared to spend at least a bit of time talking to police and lawyers.
     
  3. AirForceShooter

    AirForceShooter Member

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    on your own property?
    Fire away.
    No LEO is going to question your shooting a pit.
    I love dogs but some just have to be put down.

    AFS
     
  4. armoredman

    armoredman Member

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    Check your state and local laws regarding discharge of a firearm in residential areas. In my area, I can legally defend myself, regardless if attacker has 2 legs or 4, but OC works very well on dogs too, never forget. If you are in imminent danger of life or limb, use whatever force legally allowed by law to defend yourself.
     
  5. XLMiguel

    XLMiguel Member

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    Pits are classified as "Vicious dogs" most everywhere, certainly capable of mortal harm or grave bodily injury, so yeah, I'd blast it if you have a clear shot. You wil likely end up talking with the constabulary, but it probably won't be a long talk. The dog's owner might be another issue, but if you live anywhere where there's leash laws and you're on your own property, it shouldn't be a problem. Good luck. stay safe.
     
  6. Bob R

    Bob R Member

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    Where I live, not only can you shoot it, but the police would be grateful. With me shooting it they have very little paperwork. If they shoot it there is about 4 pages of paperwork to do.

    bob
     
  7. wmenorr67

    wmenorr67 Member

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    Just an observation but why all the questions in regards to pits all of a sudden? Is there an invasion going on that has not been publicized?
     
  8. gunsmith

    gunsmith member

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    I love dogs & I love pit's

    but where I live is a small territorial rat terrier that would attack the pit to protect his bigger friend the cat so I would have been forced to shoot the pitbull,unless it was so well trained it sat down on command but if that was the case it wouldn't be invading the yard.
    so in order to answer your question -justified? yes,absolutely!
    Legal?
    who knows here in SF CA I'm sure you could,but the pets owner would be looking for ya
     
  9. RavenVT100

    RavenVT100 Member

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    Pits have gotten bad media attention lately, and politically they're not very popular dogs. The stereotype of a pit is that of a vicious attack dog. This is partly due to the breed's history, but probably more due to the fact that people can be interested in owning a pit for the wrong reasons and therefore do not treat the dog correctly or train it properly.

    As a result of all this, the police will most likely be far more sympathetic to you shooting a pit than a toy poodle.

    Personally, GSDs are highest on my list of dogs I wouldn't want to screw with, but GSD owners tend to be less irresponsible training their animals. If you get on the bad side of an angy GSD though, watch out.
     
  10. jacketch

    jacketch Member

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    In northern Virginia, 3 pit bulls recently attacked an elderly lady and her dog, killing them both. A few weeks later another another person was attacked but thankfully, only injured.
     
  11. Group9

    Group9 Member

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    Just an observation but why all the questions in regards to pits all of a sudden? Is there an invasion going on that has not been publicized?

    You must not read the papers much. I can't ever remember seeing a Pit Bull until about 15 years ago, and then it seemed like everywhere I turned around, I was seeing one, or hearing about an attack by one (or more).

    Pit Bull owners will defend them by saying they are not mean dogs unless people make them mean. Well, that is small comfort when you see one in your backyard, or running down the street loose heading for you or your family.
     
  12. 2nd Amendment

    2nd Amendment member

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    Actually Pits were very popular at the turn of the century. I can't remember the specifics but one served as unofficial mascot with some unit in WWI and wound up being decorated. He toured in parades after the war. They were used for their strength of character in war posters. But their popularity faded sometime after WWII and when they returned to public notice it was because of unresearched media attention(none of us are familar with that, eh?).

    The media has a bad tendency to portray any dog attack at this point in time as being by a "Pit". Unidentifiable Heinz? Pit. Short haired? Pit. Etc and so forth, because it grabs the attention of a public who are, to put it mildly, not generally too bright where news is concerned.

    Anyway, the thread title would have been better had it not listed any specific dog since, if it's gnawing your ankle off, it doesn't really matter what you call it. As for shooting "a dog", if you're in city limits you're screwed unless it's literally self defense. If not then generally speaking you're OK. Do you shoot on your property now? Doesn't matter what you're shooting at, then.

    As for the dog itself, if the owner wanted it they'd keep it under control. Shoot, shovel and shut up. It's just beyond me why people seem to think they need to involve the police in this sort of thing? We've been shooting dogs, and cats, all my life and long before that. My neighbor's dog is scheduled to die this weekend, when it again returns to eat more of my chickens. I told him twice, which is more than I'd do for most people and certainly more than I would expect from anyone if my dogs were off killing and attacking.
     
  13. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Moderator Emeritus

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    Hostile behavior on the part of any small animal can be a sign of rabies. Dog, cat, fox, raccoon, whatever. Anything smaller than a bear, I guess; I've never read of a bear with rabies. (Compared to a bear, any dog is small.)

    You're justified in whatever protective action you take. No different from protecting yourself against an attacking human.

    Dogs are territorial by nature. If a dog exhibits hostile behavior in territory not his own, something is notably wrong with that dog...

    ART
     
  14. Byron Quick

    Byron Quick Moderator In Memoriam

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    In eastern central Georgia, pit bulls never lost their popularity. I remember playing with my uncle's pit when I was small back in the 1950's. They have gotten more popular in the area with the wannabe gang bangers and stuff. The ones that I have seen that were raised strictly as pets are some of the most people friendly dogs I have ever seen. So environment counts for a lot.

    That being said...remember the breed's genetics. It was probably after WWII before hardly anyone kept the pit bull as a pet. The dog was bred to fight...for money. Again it was probably post WWII before a pit bull was allowed to breed that hadn't won that right by killing other dogs. Pit bulls don't know but one way to go when they get into a fight: kill or die. I would suggest that maybe that makes the breed a bad choice for guard dog or attack dog training. Some folks thought otherwise. I wouldn't mind having one for a pet in a rural setting. I wouldn't own one in an urban setting and I would never train one to be suspicious of any human...that's begging for trouble.

    Even the common breeds that are trained as guard dogs, attack dogs, K-9, and Schutzhund need to be carefully selected for aptitude. Most of the common breeds are not truly suitable. I'm sure that, with care, an experienced trainer could select a pit bull that would make a suitable candidate for this type of work. However, I believe that it would be a much longer search than it would be with the more suitable breeds.
     
  15. NHBB

    NHBB Member

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    I love pits, and the thoroughbreds that are often pigeonholed with them like various terriers. they are by very nature animal aggressive, but raised with a fair hand they can make wonderful family dogs setting the stereotypes aside. extremely smart and protective of their family... and it is definitely true in the hands of a bad owner or even a harsh disciplinarian can result in a bad dog that really should be put down.

    that said, I would have probably shot it out of worry for my own dog (english bulldog.. looks tough but is like a teddy bear).

    leash laws are there for a reason, and a pit running around the neighborhood is a marked dog... most kennels have a destroy on arrival policy towards them.

    as with any breed of dog, temperament varies.. it could just have easily been an aggro german shepard or a more accepted breed of dog.
     
  16. El Rojo

    El Rojo Member

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    Why would you want to shoot a dog and have to face the legal and possible vengence issues when you have already taken the most effective means of handling the situation? The guy who turned me into a gun fighter told me, "Any time you can avoid a shooting, don't shoot." So maybe your state law says blast away, but why invite trouble? It sounds like you handled it perfectly.
     
  17. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    Remember the "escalation of force" thing. If the dog's attacking your windows, trying to get at your cats, then:

    1. It's not attacking you, so self-defence is not an issue;

    2. It can't get at your cats, so protection of your property is arguably a weak defence.

    I'd suggest your actions were reasonable under any criteria. Use of OC spray would have been another reasonable option. However, if you'd used lethal force against the dog in the absence of any articulable threat to yourself and/or your cats, the owner of the dog would (IMHO) have grounds for a lawsuit against you, even if the law says you're in the clear. The doctrine of the "reasonable man" still holds sway.

    Anytime I can get out of a defensive situation (against humans, or animals, or whatever) without having to threaten or use lethal force, as far as I'm concerned, I've won!
     
  18. Gunsnrovers

    Gunsnrovers Member

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    I'm with El Rojo and Preacherman on this. If the dog was hostile and threatening towards you, shooting would be justified. However, based on the dogs response, I would say no and/or it wouldn't be worth it.
     
  19. GreenFurniture

    GreenFurniture Member

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    By "attacking" your car the animal was a threat. There is very little to argue there.

    If it had been me, the dog would have gotten 230 grains of justice.
     
  20. Bob R

    Bob R Member

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    Here is some interesting data. The breeds of dogs involved in fatal attacks over 20 years.

    There is even a cocker spaniel in there! :eek:

    http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/duip/dogbreeds.pdf

    This site has several pages of dogbite links. What I found amazing was the number of dog bites.


    http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc/duip/dogbites.htm

    Personally, if the dog was lunging against the glass, trying to get to the cat, I would remove the cat. If that did not deter the pooch, I would introduce it to Mr. 00 buck. Why open the door and subject yourself to attack by trying a non-lethal approach?

    bob
     
  21. Domino

    Domino Member

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    Well, you have a good point, but you must also consider the potential threat of an animal like this. What if it ends up killing some kid in the neighborhood a couple of days later? You are really going to have to use your own judgement on this, since you and only you can make assumptions as to how dangerous this animal is. I would see if the dog continues to be a nuisance, if it does than the owners are simply asking for it to be terminated.

    BTW I'm pretty sure that here, in Georgia, the only reason you need to shoot a dog (or any non-game animal) is that it is on your property. If there is a lease law and the animal is a breed known for hostility than you would be more than justified and probably doing everyone a favor by exterminating it.

    That bieng said I ,personally, am quite tolerant of other peoples pets since there are many dogs running around my neighborhood. I have had a few become a little aggressive and I would say that they are treading on thin ice, because I would probably not hesitate to kill a dog that was trying to attack me or another. Simple fact of life, when a pet owner doesn't know how to take proper care of their pets they often end up dead because they allowed to become someone else's problem. I have never had sympathy for people like this, they are too stupid to own dangerous pets.
     
  22. Desertdog

    Desertdog Member

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    In the PRK,with this scenerio, you would probably be in deep s#it if you fired on the dog. The dog could not get to you or the cat and you could have safely retreated. Self defense could not have been used.

    Want to rid the neighborhood of the dog? :what: Maybe get out of the car and provoke the dog to attack you with your firearm ready. :evil:
     
  23. Tory

    Tory member

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    As you were in your car,

    you:

    1. Were in no immediate danger; and

    2. Had ready means to escape.

    That said, even in my anti-gun state, killing the dog would be a "good shoot. By statute , one is authorized to kill a dog which is:

    1. Not on it's land or under the owner's control; and

    2. Attacking your domestic animals. That would include cats.

    Furthermore, on your facts, it was threatening you . :what:

    "You may fire when ready, Gridley!"
     
  24. caseydog

    caseydog Member

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    I'm in a very rural area , I have a non aggressive dog that stays in our yard and I've had a few dogs come around and challenge him for territory. My standard answer for the situation is one shot across the bow , into the dirt so he gets dirt kicked up on him to go with the blast of the gunshot. Out of a half dozen such incidents since moving here , only one didn't get the message and required my next shot to have a different intention. Of the dogs who got one "across the bow" , all left in great haste and none have ever returned.

    FWIW

    Ray
     
  25. P95Carry

    P95Carry Moderator Emeritus

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    - if they know what's good for 'em! LOL :p :D
     
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