right to defend ourselves and our dog being attacked

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by halfmonkey, Sep 21, 2018.

  1. halfmonkey macrumors regular

    May 17, 2011
    We've been kicking around the idea of buying a Labradoodle and we've come across some videos on you tube of pit bulls attacking and even killing dogs and it got us wondering. What exactly is our right when it comes to defending ourselves and our dog in the event of a dog attack? So for humans, we have the right to defend ourselves and even using deadly force when necessary and allowed under certain circumstances of the law. Of course, I realize each state has different parameters of when deadly force can be used so to provide context to my question, we live in CA. I'm no lawyer but as I understand it, in CA you first have to try and avoid the conflict and have a duty to retreat. If you're not able to retreat, I believe you have to basically say stop and then if the treat continues, you have the right to use deadly force. Again, I'm no lawyer.

    So when it comes to a dog attack, you can't necessarily retreat like if you're out walking because you can't outrun a dog. If a dog is attacking you and is clamped down on your arm, or leg, or whatever, what can you do within the extent of the law to stop the dog attack? If the dog is attacking your dog, what can you do within the law to stop the attack? Now I will say that if I'm out with my kids and dog and if a dog attacks my kid, I won't even hesitate to stab the dog to death because I would be carrying around and 3in pocket knife or so if I'm walking my dog with my kids. My kids life is undeniably more important than an attacking dog's life and I will not hesitate to use the knife and deadly force to stop a dog attacking my child.

    Please note that this is not a question about how to tell the owner of the attacking dog to be a responsible pet owner, of whether pit bulls should be banned or not (I used a pit bull example because that's what came up on you tube as the most common aggressor), or whether Labradoodles are good dogs, etc. I think you get the point. I'm not trying to start an off topic war of words. Just curious to know what my rights would be. Thanks.
  2. Scepticalscribe macrumors Westmere


    Jul 29, 2008
    The Far Horizon
    Does the ownership of pit bull dogs (and other such dogs) require a greater duty of care on the part of the owner in the US and in individual states than would be the case with the ownership of other breeds of dog?

    Because in the UK and Ireland, I am pretty sure that it does.
  3. jkcerda macrumors 6502a


    Jun 10, 2013
    Criminal Mexi Midget
    1. I am short/fat/bald/ugly and NOT a LAWYER.
    2. I am also in CA and hold a CCW , what county are you in?
    3. no amount of property is worth someone's life, if you are getting mugged then just hand over your crap, I guarantee you nothing you have is worth what you will pay a lawyer to defend yourself.
    4. dog wise , carry pepper spray and DON'T spray the other dogs owner as you will face assault charges, spray is far better than knife but carry BOTH is you can
    5 I love pitbulls and many of the "mean" breeds, hell mom had a chow chow that the nephews rode like a damn horse and it never bit them. it's all in how you raise them, she also adopted a 10LB turd with fur what would try to kill you if you got too close to her.
    6. if your life is SERIOUSLY in danger then defend yourself and worry about charges later, judged by 12 vs carried by 6 kind of deal.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 21, 2018 ---
    I could be wrong (I am after all a man , a married one at that and God knows I am NEVER right when arguing with the wife :p) but I believe it depends on your city and if you own or rent a home.
  4. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    I'm no lawyer so I will offer you no advice.

    I am however, going to say this. I lived in California for 20 years. I was born there. My parents decided rural SoCal (Riverside County) was a great place to raise two kids (why, only God knows) so you grow up dealing with animals.

    I was cleaning the front yard once when my wife and I were living in San Bernardino. Fenced area, but there was a hole in the fence that allowed the neighbor's dog on their porch to get into our yard. Dumbass dog decided to try it on the day I was cleaning up.

    One well placed shot with the flat of a flat head shovel upside the dog's head sent it running for it's life back on it's side of the fence.

    I never had any issue with that dog ever again. It's owner looked at me once but didn't say a word. And that was the end of it.

    I think you're too wrapped up in what's going to happen afterwards. Do what's necessary.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 21, 2018 ---
    When has any married man ever been right?! ;)
  5. RootBeerMan macrumors 65816


    Jan 3, 2016
    If you decide to take on a vicious dog with a pocket knife, well...more power to you. You're likely to end up in the hospital. Sadly, you live in California and are unlikely to have a license to carry a firearm, (which would be much more useful in a case like this). If you did have a firearm and used it, I would stress that you shoot to kill the dog. You can be prosecuted in many states for firing "warning shots", (had it happen in a neighbouring city here in a gun friendly state). You might be better off walking your dog and carrying a bat or a hefty walking stick. Then you wouldn't have to be too close to the attacking dog. Don't go the pocket knife route. Alternatively, you could try and get a California CCW and acquire a firearm and some training, but it's really hard to get one, depending on where you are.
  6. AngerDanger macrumors 601


    Dec 9, 2008
    Think about it
  7. BasicGreatGuy Contributor


    Sep 21, 2012
    In the middle of several books.
    Realizing county and state laws vary in the United States, as a general rule, one has the right to defend his or her own life and property against theft or destruction. Dogs are legally considered property. As such, unless local laws state differently, one has the right to defend one's life and property using reasonable force. That means that one cannot go looking for the two or four-legged potential problem ahead of time, and render any future possibly moot by taking action without immediate cause.

    If your dog were to be attacked by another dog while you were walking your dog on a leash, or the dog came onto your property etc, you can only use enough force to stop the attack from continuing. You cannot use excessive force (e.g. a dog nips at your dog but, did not cause any bodily harm. You proceed to shoot the other dog and kill it) unless you are in fear of your life. Otherwise, you could face civil and criminal charges.
  8. Relentless Power, Sep 24, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2018

    Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

    Jul 12, 2016
    {Just for the record, anything I have listed below is not telling you what to do or how you should do it, it’s based on my training and knowledge under my state laws/ordinances. I have been an LE Officer for almost ten years and I have encountered two aggressive dog calls where I may have had to use my firearm.}

    Now, in event if you think a dog is going to attack you, the way I am trained is, does the dog make you feel that it poses an imminent (Keyword) threat of danger to your life? If the answer is yes, then you are subject to stop the threat at all costs. [Again, this is based on my training and nor am I making insinuations based on Your state laws, as your situation may vary.]

    Real Scenario one:

    I responded to a campground for a noise complaint approximately 4/5 years back, and I approached a couple who were arguing and heavily intoxicated. In doing so, they also had a very aggressive Rottweiler that was leashed and being restrained by the male suspect involved. The suspect male eventually lost control of the dog and it started to approach myself and another deputy, the dog stopped approximately 3 feet in front of us showing its teeth, growling and was in an attack pose. I unholstered my firearm and aimed it at the dog, which the owner said it was ‘friendly’. I Immediately told the owner, if the dog attempts to attack or lunge at me, I will shoot it.

    The owner eventually regained control of the animal and leashed it to a pole. Now here is my point, I felt that dog posed an imminent threat to my life, Which Could have caused great bodily harm or danger, which now the law (And P&P Manual) in my state says, I can stop *that* threat.

    Real scenario # 2:

    I was dispatched for two loose pitbull‘s that were roaming the streets inside my city limits. I was partially familiar with these two pit bulls being at large before, but have not had contact with them until this call.

    I approached the street/residence where the pit bulls were last located, I did not see them. I parked my squad car across the street, approached the house, I noticed a shattered window at the rear of the residence. I could hear what I thought was two dogs inside the house, so I started to retreat back to my squad to see if I could make contact with the owner of the house from my phone. As I was near my squad car, one of the the pit bulls looked out the window, jumped out and started racing towards me growling and showing its teeth in a very Aggressive manner, being very little time I had to react, I unholstered my firearm, pointing it at the pitbull with the intent to stop the threat. Surprisingly, the pitbull stopped in the middle the street and circled around my squad car, ran back towards the house. If that pitbull would have approached any closer, I would have shot it with no hesitation, because I feared for my life and I believed it posed a threat of great Bodily Harm to my life.

    There again in both scenarios, my deadly force option was correctly utilized because I met the elements of where my firearm would have been justified in these situations, because both of these incidents led me to believe that the dogs posed an imminent threat and great bodily harm. It’s a very quick, decisive decision to stop the threat, but if you hesitate or make the wrong decision, it could cost you your life or become greatly injured.

    Reference the Bolded, Just my opinion, but that is a bad idea. A knife against a pitbull or a dog of such caliber, is not going to change its behavior towards you, if it ends up biting you or clamps onto a limb, it will only further upset the dog. These dogs are _extremely_powerful, they have the ability to thrash an adult around.

    I am not speaking for your state, your own well-being or anything of the matter, I’m just advising that a knife against a pitbull is almost useless, even though I do understand it’s better than not having anything at all for protection.
  9. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    I am not a lawyer, but...

    ...it's a dog. Aside from a police K-9 unit, has anybody ever seriously been charged with murder for killing a dog?
  10. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    Story time.

    Friend takes newborn daughter for a stroll through neighborhood park. Angry dog runs straight at the stroller, barking and looking aggressive. Dog owner is watching but doing nothing. Friend gets between his baby daughter and dog. Not knowing what else to do, pulls out pocket knife and unfolds it.

    Now of course dog owner is concerned and finally starts yelling at the dog. Dog stops just short of my friend and stands there barking. Dog owner comes, fetches dog, and runs off.

    Fast forward a couple of days and there are now police flyers in the park warning people to look out for a man fitting my friend's description, who is armed with a knife and attempting to stab dogs, who may or may not have a fake baby in a stroller. Because of the fliers, my friend turned around and went home and did not go into the park for a long time after that.

    So I recommend that if an incident occurs, you should be the first to report it to the police. If the other person calls 911 first and reports that you assaulted his/her dog, that sets the tone and puts you on the legal defensive.
  11. AustinIllini macrumors demi-goddess


    Oct 20, 2011
    Austin, TX
    No. Definitely not in self-defense. Of course, everything is within reason and you can't just execute your neighbor's dog for no reason, but yeah, within reason a dog is not a human.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 2, 2018 ---
    Even in this case, if you're the guy with the knife, you go talk to the police. You can claim self defense. Dogs have no business being off leash going after people.
  12. MacNut macrumors Core


    Jan 4, 2002
    If the dog is not harming anyone and you hurt the dog you can be charged with animal abuse.
  13. A.Goldberg macrumors 68020


    Jan 31, 2015
    I am not a lawyer either and I imagine laws vary state to state, so it’s probably best you consult your local police or an appropriate lawyer.

    Dogs for the most part are considered property, not humans, so at a minimum I don’t think you need to be afraid of being charged with murder or manslaughter.

    I imagine if a dog is attacking you, you have every right to shoot it. If you merely feel threatened, shooting the dog may land you in a more precarious situation legally, but worst case scenario I’m not sure to consequences would be too severe as opposed to unjustifiably shooting a person.

    If a dog is attacking you, or appears to be about to attacking you, it’s generally a poor decision to run away. Dogs have an instinct to chase so running away may actually make the situation worse. It’s best to stay where you are, not make eye contact, and turn your body sideways to appear non-threatening.
  14. RootBeerMan macrumors 65816


    Jan 3, 2016
    Just remember that, if you have to shoot a dog, (or stab or whatever) you are going to be at the mercy of the police and that they are not your friends. Here in my area we had a retired police officer that was accosted by 2 of his neighbours dogs. One of them latched onto his pants leg and he pulled his gun and fired a shot into the ground, rather than kill his neighbours dog. The dogs ran off and the cops responded. He was cited, despite the fact that he acted in self defence. He ended up in court fighting the citation and was faced with a hostile prosecutor and cops who committed perjury, all because he dared to fight them in court. According to some cops, unless you kill the critter you're a criminal.


    A side note: I have known Harry for years, online. And he's a standup guy. He's also one of those rarities, a guy who was a truly honest cop who had no issues bucking the thin blue line gang.

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13 September 21, 2018