The second most common defensive incident we see is responding to an attacking dog. What does the law say about self-defense against dog attacks? Is it legal to shoot an attacking dog? What are some of the legal pitfalls when you “stand your ground” against dogs? The Armed Attorneys break down some of the most important legal considerations for dog attacks.
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Today we’re talking about using a firearm in defense against an attacking dog and stick around to the end for our pro tip about the most important consideration in whether police and prosecutors consider one of these type of defensive incidents as justified … special guest appearance here by Edwin Walker, when you’re talking to your clients about defense against an attacking dog where do you start the conversation well first of all we want to say that everyone loves … some dogs that are just bad dogs and they will do harm to you your family and your pets and so those are the dogs that we’re specifically speaking about whenever people call me or ask me about attacking dogs the first thing is is that you have to be reasonable your use of deadly force especially with regard to firearms you can only do it whenever it’s absolutely necessary because in the event that you do shoot at a dog or shoot or wind up actually shooting the dog it is more likely that you’ll be charged with a firearms offense rather than a cruelty to animal offense yeah in most states it’s kind of a crazy deal but a lot of states do not specify in their self-defense statutes when it comes to animals we’re typically left to like for example here in texas we’re left to rely on the defense of necessity and that means that the harm that we’re preventing is outweighed by the harm that we’re causing … it’s kind of a balancing act … the back of a pickup truck to get away from the dog all of those are able to be explored because there’s no stand your ground defense when it comes to an attacking dog yeah and as far as self-defense incidents goes defending yourself against an attacking dog is probably the second most common type of scenario we find our clients in and so if you’re you know go on morning walks with your dog and maybe once or every two weeks you encounter a stray dog a dog not on a leash or a maybe even an aggressive dog your exposure or your chances of having to act in defense are so much higher and you know if the only tool in the tool belt is a hammer everything looks like a nail so having those alternatives maybe it’s a club maybe it’s a walking stick maybe it’s a chemical spray and that assuming that’s all legal in your state you know make sure you’re you’re following the law in your state but if you think that you’re going to find yourself in one of these scenarios you really need to think about you know what are some possible alternatives and i think that brings us to our attorney pro tip of the day which is you know what is the most important consideration police and prosecutors are looking at when determining whether this is animal cruelty or a justified defensive incident Edwin you know whenever it comes to dog attacks size does matter and so you want to make sure that you’re not shooting a dog that’s a small dog a relatively harmless dog you know chihuahua dachshund beagle something like that so make sure that in the event that you absolutely positively have to use your firearm against a dog that it’s a large dog that is known to do damage a dog you know in the 75 to 100 pound range a pit bull mix some sort of German Shepherd some sort of dog that is known to to cause injuries to persons and other animals …
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