In defense of a family pet?

This is a discussion on In defense of a family pet? within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; This is another one of those what if scenarios that could play itself out in so many ways , but after reading the cat killer ...

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Thread: In defense of a family pet?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Katana's Avatar
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    In defense of a family pet?

    This is another one of those what if scenarios that could play itself out in so many ways, but after reading the cat killer posts, and then some older posts about using your firearm to put down a pet I've been thinking about this:

    If you were to discover someone killing your family pet, would you legally have the right to neutralize the threat? We're talking about an armed individual, whether with a blade or a firearm, attempting to kill your beloved family pet on your property. At the time you catch him in the act, it's only aimed at the animal, would this still be considered a deadly threat if it's not aimed at you currently or would you have to wait for him to turn his attention to you before you would have the right to defend?

    I think in this situation, I would be hard pressed to not think of my german shepherd as part of my family, but I know the law would not think of it that way.

    If you want a more direct example, let's look at this scenario:

    You are coming home from work in the late afternoon or early evening, and spot someone dressed in all black on your front yard with their back to you, you notice a large knife in his right hand stained with blood. After a quick glance, you look downward and see your cat laying on the ground, covered in blood and struggling to breath. At this point, the guy has not noticed you yet. How would you handle it?
    "Stand your ground, don't fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here!" - John Parker April 19th, 1775 Lexington, MA

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  3. #2
    Distinguished Member Array Arko's Avatar
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    As soon as he tuns toward me, I'm in fear of my own life, and he becomes a target.
    "Don't Tread on Me"

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    I have two dogs that are family! If they were compromised, I would instinctively defend them with reasonable force. If another animal attacked them, I would have no problem using my gun. However, if a person attacked them, I couldn’t justify the shoot.
    Regards,
    “Monsters are real and so are ghosts. They live inside of us, and sometimes they win.”
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    Member Array Ensiferum's Avatar
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    Property vs. Self-Defense...

    I had a similar discussion with a local animal control officer. The word, at least in my city, is that pets are considered property, and that people are not authorized deadly force to defend property.

    Now if that individual pointed the firearm at you, then you're obviously then authorized. In my city, if someone is within 27 feet of you with a knife, you're also then authorized deadly force.

    Your last example, coming home to find someone has just butchered your cat, you'd probably be required to retreat to your vehicle and call the cops. Being ready to shoot while doing this would be advisable.

    The thing the police repeatedly say is, "Can you ARTICULATE that there was a deadly threat posed to you and further that you tried an escalation of force."

    Got pepper spray? Got Taser?

  6. #5
    Member Array Ensiferum's Avatar
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    Animal Cruelty vs. Defense of a Pet

    Saber makes a good point. But consider this, the rest of the discussion I had with Animal Control was about my dog getting attacked someone's loose dog. If I couldn't articulate (there's that word again), that my dog was under attack (video, or fresh wounds), and if I injured the attacking dog, I could be held liable for 'cruelty to animals.'

    Furthermore, that if I used my pistol against the attacking dog, then I'd be guilty of discharging a firearm within the city limits. Again, would have to articulate that I was in imminent danger. Without video or fresh wounds it'd be difficult.

    Enter the Twilight Zone, to defend yourself and pet without legal hassles, you'd have to sustain some injury or be super quick with your cell phone video camera. I don't know about you, but if I'm getting attacked by a dog it's going to be difficult to think about my stupid video phone.

    The only answer I could come up with is a taser or stun gun. That way the attacking dog has no injuries to be used against me in court, but was painful enough to have it break off the attack.

  7. #6
    Distinguished Member Array Rugergirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arko View Post
    As soon as he tuns toward me, I'm in fear of my own life, and he becomes a target.
    Yup, knife or gun, if somebody has a weapon and they are close enough to use it, I'd be ready to fire. If it were my fog, I might use a command voice to get his attention, so I don't have to shoot someone in the back.
    Disclaimer: The posts made by this member are only the members opinion, not a reflection on anyone else, nor the group, and should not be cause for anyone to get their undergarments wedged in an uncomfortable position.

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    Member Array sspargo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katana View Post
    If you want a more direct example, let's look at this scenario:

    You are coming home from work in the late afternoon or early evening, and spot someone dressed in all black on your front yard with their back to you, you notice a large knife in his right hand stained with blood. After a quick glance, you look downward and see your cat laying on the ground, covered in blood and struggling to breath. At this point, the guy has not noticed you yet. How would you handle it?
    I would immediately get out of my vehicle and approach the individual so I could shake his hand. I hate cats!!!

    J/K!

    The way the law in my state is worded, property is property and it would be no different than if he were vandalizing your flower bed or shrubs although there would probably be cruelty to animals charges added to it. Now, at the point that he turns his attention to me, he has had an extremely bad day! If I'm in fear for my or another person's life, threat of great bodily harm to myself or another or sexual assault tp myself or another, I have the right to use deadly force. There is no duty to retreat while on my property (home, business, rental or land).

    Sad to say but he would be in more trouble for backing into my mailbox than killing a family pet.

    I still hate cats though!
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    Distinguished Member Array Bunny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arko View Post
    As soon as he tuns toward me, I'm in fear of my own life, and he becomes a target.
    Yep. Exactly.

    Though I'm more of a dog person than a cat person. Still, an innocent animal who can not defend itself...that's just sick.
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  10. #9
    Member Array user's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katana View Post
    ...If you were to discover someone killing your family pet, would you legally have the right to neutralize the threat? ...
    Negative. Domestic animals are personal property, not persons. I'm pretty sure this one is good everywhere, but check with a local attorney: One is never authorized to use deadly force to protect personal property.

    Quote Originally Posted by Saber View Post
    I have two dogs that are family! If they were compromised, I would instinctively defend them with reasonable force. If another animal attacked them, I would have no problem using my gun. However, if a person attacked them, I couldn’t justify the shoot.
    Regards,
    Exactly right. "Reasonable force" means that degree of force which is reasonably necessary under the circumstances, and not more.

    Quote Originally Posted by Arko View Post
    As soon as he tuns toward me, I'm in fear of my own life, and he becomes a target.
    Fear for your life doesn't get you a self defense plea - but a reasonable apprehension of an imminent serious bodily injury does (regardless of how you feel about it).
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    Most states consider dogs and cats as property. Unless your state allows the use of deadly force to defend property you can't. Not positive, but I believe service animals may fall into another category.

    Now if the person is armed and turns on you that is another ballgame.

  12. #11
    Distinguished Member Array Arko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by user View Post
    Fear for your life doesn't get you a self defense plea - but a reasonable apprehension of an imminent serious bodily injury does (regardless of how you feel about it).
    Fear of grievous injury or death to self or other humans is all I need in TN. If he has a gun or knife, and turns toward me intimating even a hint of intent my 9 is barking.
    "Don't Tread on Me"

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array hogdaddy's Avatar
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    Crulety to animals are considered a felony in FL.
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  14. #13
    Senior Member Array elkhunter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by user View Post
    Fear for your life doesn't get you a self defense plea - but a reasonable apprehension of an imminent serious bodily injury does (regardless of how you feel about it).
    That word "reasonable" is an important one.
    Question is, will the DA or Jury think it is "reasonable"?

    Ya gotta convince the jury that your use of deadly force was reasonable.

    If a guy with a bloody knife turns toward me, I'm getting convinced of being in danger, if he proceeds toward me I AM reasonably convinced I am in danger. (BANG!)
    If he runs away, I am not reasonably convinced, yet, but will stay at high alert.
    It’s so much easier now days, to "Love and honor" my wife, when she is armed, and shoots a better group than I do. (Till death do us part, eh?)

    “The way you get shot by a concealed weapons permit holder is, you point a gun at him,” the Sheriff said.

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    Most people would find my 'rather large' Rhodesian Ridgeback a handful. Trying to hurt my pet, on my property, would most likely involve a weapon of some type.
    Someone using a weapon on my pet, (probably also turned to me with said weapon...), I will have no choice but to defend myself as I WOULD be in fear of my life.
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    Member Array KG4ZRC's Avatar
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    Horse rustling is still illegal in some parts...

    Yes, they are pets... Big dogs... I mean, come on! It's not like we actually ride them!!

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