I not familiar with the laws in CO , but it sounds like a good place to have a can of pepper spray handy .
This is a discussion on Dogs within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Here in Colorado your dog must be on a leash if outdoors. So, I'm out on a hike at a county park walking along and ...
Here in Colorado your dog must be on a leash if outdoors. So, I'm out on a hike at a county park walking along and around the corner come 2 big dogs. I see no people at all. Now all I had was my knife that I carry always, so I put myself in a defensive posture ready to take out these not so friendly dogs. As they're coming closer to me, here comes the owner holding their leashes. The idiot yells at the dogs to return and they do. Now, I was threatened enough to draw my knife and pull off my back pack for defense. If I'd had a gun with me I'd of had that out and ready. What are the laws concerning something like that? It's clearly posted at the trailhead that all pets must be on leashes. I'd hate to someones dog, but I'm not a big fan of being bitten either. What's your take on this scenerio?
I not familiar with the laws in CO , but it sounds like a good place to have a can of pepper spray handy .
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It's a basic self-defense scenario. The question is, would a reasonable man feel himself to be in lethal danger? Certainly, some dogs CAN present a lethal threat. Others--chihuahuas, for instance--might bite you, but it would be a stretch to consider the threat "lethal" (unless, of course, you have some reasonable suspicion that the dog is, for instance, rabid).
In the end, the question is, did you honestly feel you were in lethal danger? And a corollary question is, could you convince a judge and/or jury that you honestly felt that way? You cannot shoot a dog just because you don't want him to jump up on you, or because you are afraid he might nip your hand. But if you believe yourself to be in lethal danger then a lethal response is appropriate and justified.
Edited to add: The fact that there is a leash law, and the dogs were off leash, is irrelevant.
Not to try and speak for denverd0n but I believe that the fact that you were threatened is the key point.
Look at it this way, if the dogs were leashed and still ripping you apart you would feel threatened. If the dogs being off of their leashes is your major concern then you are using your weapon to enforce the leash law - not protect yourself.
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I agree that the leash thing has its place. A dog on a leash is not a threat unless you either got way too close, or the owner is allowing the dogs to attack you. If the dog has a leash on it's neck, but nothing on the other end of the leash, it is still very much an unleashed dog. If I had simply gotten too close to the dogs, that would be my fault. If the owner was having the dogs attack, I don't know who to shoot first, the dogs or the owner! (Just kidding, kind of....)
Anyway, I don't know why I bothered to get into the great leash debate, but I did...
Either way, like denverd0n said, it comes down to wether or not your life was in danger or not...
Pepper spray is a good dog option.
I would hate to shoot a dog unless it was ready to latch onto me...
I know the difference betweew a protective instict, a menacing bark, and an attacking pit bull (type)...
I'll wait until the last minute before I would have to shoot.
The owner probably needs to be on a leash too...
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In your post you didn't say what the dogs were doing other than walking. What was it about their actions that made you feel threatened?
For the most part, dogs are considered as property so shooting one does not carry the legal weight and burden of shooting a person. However, I asked the question above because if you do shoot a dog, you'll need to at least articulate your reasons to law enforcement. If your answer is along the line of: "His tongue was hanging out, his tail was wagging, and he playfully ran circles around me, but he wasn't on a leash so I shot him.", then you may end up being charged with unlawful discharge of a firearm and paying for a new dog. Depending on the breed and the breeder, this could cost you as little as a Keltec P32 or as much as a nice custom 1911.
There are people that are dog-lovers, some that are dog-haters, some that just don't care one way or the other, and some that haven't been around dogs very much so they don't know how to read them. I understand that and accept that. For the most part though, dogs are pretty harmless. A lot of them like strangers, some will run from strangers, some like to make a lot of noise, some just like to act tough but are nothing more than noisemakers, and there are just a few that will actually bite or attack.
I know that there will be many responses to the last part of the above paragraph with many writing of bad experiences that they've had with dogs making it seem like there are a lot of bad dogs. But, why would someone make a post about a dog they crossed paths with and NOTHING happened? I crossed paths with one today. It appeared to be one that escaped from a backyard or something. It didn't act like the usual stray because it wasn't comfortable with it's environment and didn't watch for traffic. I tried to approach it so that I could maybe return it to it's owner but he wouldn't let me near him. So...NOTHING happened. Not very exciting, huh? An event hardly worthy of its own post.
I fall into the category of dog lover so I have the advantage of being able to read them pretty well. For those that can't, it may be worthwhile to do a little research and learn about dog body language. Dealing with dogs is no different than dealing with people in many ways. Demeanor is everything. If you don't act afraid and don't back down, a dog, just like a human predator, will think twice. This won't always work, there are the rare dogs that will simply not submit to anyone and will attack if that's what they want to do. But generally, someone with a dog like that will not have it off-leash in a public place. (I said generally.)
Note: NEVER, EVER, run from a dog. This will trigger their predator/chase instinct and they will chase you. And there's not a human being on earth that stands a chance of outrunning a dog, for any distance, that is big enough to cause serious harm.
One last comment. Although I'm a dog lover, if I'm faced with an aggressive dog and I sincerely feel that he's going to attack, I will put him down in the time it takes to draw, shoot, and make a stopping hit. Without hesitation.
Last edited by AZ Dog; November 29th, 2006 at 01:13 AM.
"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed." - Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-188
Though every state or municipality's laws are different, around here there is no obligation to believe you are subject to grave harm before using deadly force on an animal. You are entitled to stop an animal's threat even if you think you might only get bitten on the hand.
Even so, you can't go around shooting dogs, especially those that do not pose an immediate threat. The force still has to be reasonably related to the threat. If not, more than likely you will subject yourself to charges of animal cruelty. Depending on the severity and outrageousness of the act, that can mean jail time.
I am still amazed at how dog owners can leave their dogs off a leash where they are likely to run into other humans. Besides creating a higher threat level that another person may be willing to act upon and injure the dog, an owner's civil liability for a dog bite is absolute. In this state, the dog owner is always at fault regardless of the circumstances when his dog bites another human on public property. The dog owner is required to maintain control over his or her animal no ifs, ands, or buts.
Many dog owners do not seem to know this. Unfortunately, this ignorance creates another problem with owners overreacting to force by humans on their loose dogs. I personally will not wait to have a loose dog attack me before using necessary force. I'm not interested in being a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit.
While walking through a park I once pepper sprayed a loose Doberman that was acting aggressively toward me and my leashed dog. The dog ran away after being hit. Its owner became enraged and began running at me threatening to kill me. Though I was carrying my gun at the time, I chose to defuse the situation by threatening the owner with the same pepper spray. Fortunately he stood down and it ended there.
For those of you familiar with the Fish/Kuenzli shooting here in Arizona, that also stemmed directly from a threat posed by loose dogs and the dogs' walker overreacting to some warning shots fired by a gun owner in the dogs' direction. After the warning shots to the dogs, the dog walker (Kuenzli) ran toward the gun owner (Fish) threatening to kill him and in response was shot to death. Fish is now in jail on second degree murder.
The moral is that although it is easier to be justified in shooting a dog than a human, you'll never know what new trouble that will bring. As should be clear, I am a big proponent of pepper spray for situations involving loose dogs. If you shoot and kill a dog, having to pay for a new dog may be the least of your worries. Many dog owners today consider their dogs their children. Some love them even more. Though you may not be at fault for shooting a dog, you may nonetheless trigger an instinct that may be more than you bargained for.
We actually had a CCW'er shoot an unleashed dog that was attacking his dog about 6 months ago here. The owner had leash in hand, and watched the guy shoot her dog. The news made a big fuss about it, but the PD said "a dog is property, and you have a right to protect your property, but we don't necessarily recommend using lethal force." As far as I know no charges were filed.
We must keep in mind that some people are flat out afraid of dogs. I had a good friend in school who was attacked when he was very young. Dogs simply terrified him. I mean run screaming like a little girl terrified. Shoot first and ask questions later terrified. Not everyone can "read" a dog.
I believe others have adequately addressed the point that you have to be able to articulate the reason you used deadly force. Dogs are not property in all states and juridictions, so be careful of that. Know the laws where you carry and you should be alright. In the end a threat is a threat and still needs to be addressed.
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First off I'm not a dog hater or afraid of dogs in general. Heck I own 4 dogs myself. The dogs that put me in a threatened state were large, menacing, barking,growling,showing their fangs and coming directly towards me. Not what I would consider the happy go lucky types. Their actions towards myself and the fact that they were not leashed and no other people were in sight is what got me concerned. Trust me I'm looking to go dog hunting.
retsupt99 is right again, IMHO.
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