When is it legal to shoot an attacking animal?


ishi

New member
Say you go for a walk with your wife in the park, and a dog belonging to another park visitor is off his leash. The dog approaches, growling deep in its throat. At what point are you legally justified in shooting the dog? Do you have to wait until it actually injures you? Until your life is threatened?

I don't know the answer to this question, I'm asking. Please back up your answer with a reference to the law.


(update: I've written to the arkansas state attorney general about this. Will post the answer when it comes)
 

Last edited:
First let me say I am NOT an attorney and it may be best to contact one for a legal answer. States differ in their laws and, in many, you could be liable just having a gun in a park. This could open you up to, not only possible arrest, but a lawsuit as well. In other states the unprovoked threat would be enough to defend yourself.
 

ishi

New member
First let me say I am NOT an attorney and it may be best to contact one for a legal answer. States differ in their laws and, in many, you could be liable just having a gun in a park. This could open you up to, not only possible arrest, but a lawsuit as well. In other states the unprovoked threat would be enough to defend yourself.

Okay, never mind the park. The park is just setting; your point is well taken that some parks don't allow firearms. This might happen walking on a sidewalk or on the street or in a parking lot. It's a general question.

By the way, I'm hoping other forum member will chime in with laws in their states. I'm curious if anybody actually knows the law concerning this. It seems to me that getting attacked by an animal might be a more likely happenstance than being attacked by a human. So it seems beneficial to discuss it.
 
Last edited:
Okay, never mind the park. The park is just setting; your point is well taken that some parks don't allow firearms. This might happen walking on a sidewalk or on the street or in a parking lot. It's a general question.

By the way, I'm hoping other forum member will chime in with laws in their states. I'm curious if anybody actually knows the law concerning this. It seems to me that getting attacked by an animal might be a more likely happenstance than being attacked by a human. So it seems beneficial to discuss it.

In that case Ishi, I can say that here in Georgia there have been cases where free roaming dogs were shot because of aggression. Those doing so were found "not liable". Georgia now has a "no retreat" law which makes it even more likely that shooting a vicious dog attacking unprovoked would be found as self defense.
 

Ziggy

New member
animals

Here in eastern New Mexico this week, a man shot and killed a roaming, aggressive dog in his yard. He had multiple encounters with the dog, had repeatedly called animal control, and last week the dog killed his dog. This week, when it came at him, he shot and killed it, and stated that animal control was not an option as there was always a long delay before they arrived.
His gun was confiscated, and he was sited for negligent use of a firearm, and animal cruelty.
 

brianbat420

New member
Here in eastern New Mexico this week, a man shot and killed a roaming, aggressive dog in his yard. He had multiple encounters with the dog, had repeatedly called animal control, and last week the dog killed his dog. This week, when it came at him, he shot and killed it, and stated that animal control was not an option as there was always a long delay before they arrived.
His gun was confiscated, and he was sited for negligent use of a firearm, and animal cruelty.

Do you have a link? NM is very pro gun and I wouldnt think this would happen here.
 

Bohemian

New member
Here in eastern New Mexico this week, a man shot and killed a roaming, aggressive dog in his yard. He had multiple encounters with the dog, had repeatedly called animal control, and last week the dog killed his dog. This week, when it came at him, he shot and killed it, and stated that animal control was not an option as there was always a long delay before they arrived.
His gun was confiscated, and he was sited for negligent use of a firearm, and animal cruelty.

Please cite your source and post it...

This needs to be reported and opposed; by those willing to do so such as http://www.saf.org/
and http://www.gunowners.org/

The right to self-preservation is an in-alienable right...
 

ishi

New member
from the article:

Around 8:30 a.m. Sept. 28 an officer responded to a shots fired call in the 2000 block of Chaparral.
When he arrived he found a dog on the ground that had been shot. The officer spoke with a man, who told him he had shot at two dogs. He said he had experienced trouble with the dogs before and had seen them chasing his dog.
He said the week before two similar looking dogs had killed his Chihuahua, and when he called police and animal control, it took them too long to respond.
The man received citations for animal cruelty and negligent use of a firearm inside city limits.

Not too detailed, but it sounds like "seen them chasing his dog" was the best defense he was able to give. So apparently the dog was not menacing him personally, or surely he would have said so(?).

Good example, but we're still no nearer to getting the law on this.
 

raybsc

New member
About the only time you can really feel safe in shooting dog is when it has your leg in its mouth. Even then there are possible problems.
Being sued by the owner etc.
No matter what you do there will be a different answer for each incident.
 

Sgt. SIG

New member
In Nevada you must be able to articulate "reasonable fear of great bodily harm".

In law, the "reasonable" part implies that the "common man" would have reached the same conclusion! ;)
 

Fallguy

Citizen
Here is the law in TN.

Link Removed(b)

39-14-205. Intentional killing of animal.
(b) A person is justified in killing the animal of another if the person acted under a reasonable belief that the animal was creating an imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury to that person or another or an imminent danger of death to an animal owned by that person. A person is not justified in killing the animal of another if at the time of the killing the person is trespassing upon the property of the owner of the animal. The justification for killing the animal of another authorized by this subsection (b) shall not apply to a person who, while engaging in or attempting to escape from criminal conduct, kills a police dog that is acting in its official capacity. In that case the provisions of subsection (a) shall apply to the person.
 

CA CCWInstructor

New member
Under California Penal Code 198, yes you can defend yourself against animals.

People V. Lee (2005)
B175279 (Los Angeles County Superior Court No. KA 060273)
California Court of Appeals, Second Appellate District, Division Eight.
 

kwo51

New member
Even while hunting deer ,if attacked by bear or big cat or gator you better have teeth marks to prove it. Do not kill a rattle snake even if it bites you. The are endangered your not.
 

molonlabetn

New member
If I believe that serious harm will come to me or mine if I don't do something... I'll do something.

If I'm out in the woods, it won't get reported... if I'm in a 'public' place, or my own property, I'll treat is exactly as any attack upon my person and call the police to take the report and possibly file negligence and endangerment charges against the owner.
 

tattedupboy

Thank God I'm alive!
Even without having looked at the deadly force laws in most states, I'm willing to bet that the deadly force laws in a majority of states make no distinction between using deadly force on a human or animal. Most simply state that if the person reasonably believes that their life is in danger, then deadly force may legally be employed, whether that danger is coming from a person or animal. Furthermore, contrary to what kwo51 says, I would not wait for an animal to bite, scratch, or jump on me before employing deadly force. Even if the animal lives, is he going to testify against me?:D
 

kwo51

New member
I can not agree with you more tattedupboy. My way will cost less in court ,but more in hospital.
 

Members online

Forum statistics

Threads
49,432
Messages
623,585
Members
74,268
Latest member
zyvaaprilia
Top