Dog charged, used wife as a shield (think I need to buy mace).

This is a discussion on Dog charged, used wife as a shield (think I need to buy mace). within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Well, this happened a few months ago, and from the title, you might see why I did not share. We were out walking (after dinner), ...

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Thread: Dog charged, used wife as a shield (think I need to buy mace).

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    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    Dog charged, used wife as a shield (think I need to buy mace).

    Well, this happened a few months ago, and from the title, you might see why I did not share.

    We were out walking (after dinner), and out of nowhere, a very large dog comes charging (barking, growling, etc.). I have less than two seconds before it is on us. I'm wearing a simple Uncle Mike's OWB holder with a G31 (I've got on long-sleeve dress shirt untucked).

    I was walking along my wife's left, as I wanted to be the closest to street traffic. In about 1 second, I step behind my wife (was on her left, now behind her), angle to my side, draw my Glock, Glock is in my right hand, along my leg. I command loudly for the dog to, "STOP NOW!" I've moved completely around to my wife's right side (but still behind her). My Glock is still out of sight, in my right hand, next to my leg.

    The dog, I think surprised by my command, stumbles, skids toward us, and maybe 4 feet away begins to yip and walk back-wards away from us.

    The owner (I think drinking) and sitting on his porch, stands up and yells, "Well that stopped him." Dog, looking returned to owner. Owner tells me, "...don't worry, he is ok."

    Just to clarify, the owner was a house away. The dog started charging from under a bush at least a house away from where it lived.

    I holstered (not sure if owner could tell I had a firearm). I loudly state, that could have been very bad. I don't think the owner understood what I meant (that I was about to fire). We walk away.

    Wife of 10 years states, "Wow, I always forget how loud and scary you can be." I tell her it is all bark. Then she asks, "Did you get behind me to hide your draw." I honestly answer, "Yes.." but I also did it so the "...dog would not be on me when I shot it,..." and "...if I would have stepped forward, the dog might react differently." I shared with her that I realize once the dog was on her, or by getting behind her, I could have shot her. I needed that moment to get set. I felt I could grab the dog with my left (I have good reflexes) and shoot the dog before it did much.

    In the end, it really was concern for drawing combined with not knowing how the dog would react to me stepping forward. However, as the dog was charging, the thought having to deal with the owner, LEO, etc made me react as I did (because without that though it would have been a dead dog). If it would have been a person, I doubt I would have gone behind my wife. I would have just drawn and shot. Something about it being a dog created uncertainty.

    I know some of you are not very religious, but it is a miracle that dog stumbled and stopped. A few inches more, I would have shot. As to why that something would not just make the dog less aggressive, IDK. I guess how I moved could have confused the dog, along with my voice. BTW, no invisible fence situation.

    I do feel bad I used my wife as a shield, but she does not. She told me the entire time she felt I was defending her. She also stated anyone who would have been watching would have clearly understood I was defending her, not throwing her first in line.

    I don't like living life with the motto "...the ends justly the means." In this situation, it did.

    Still, I feel terrible. I know what I was doing, and I was being very cold and calculated. In those less then second moments, I used my wife as a shield. I know in no way I was trying to save myself, I was protecting her, but I needed that less than a second moment to put myself in a better position to defend both of us.

    We have not taken an after dinner walk since. Some of it has to do with schedules. I have not told her, I'm a little worried about that situation happening again. I'm going to go get us some mace. I've noticed people around me just don't take evening walks anymore, and I think the dog owners are not as careful as they once were.

    I feel both bad and good about myself, because as always, I reacted fast when the situation required when others would have been indecisive or stymied. At the same time, I'm wondering just how much shame I've earned.
    Last edited by Thanis; June 12th, 2009 at 04:46 AM.
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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    PS - Maybe I should have called LEO, as I did draw, and maybe just to save someone else. IDK. Again, next time, mace.
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    New Member Array 35 Rem Girl's Avatar
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    That works for me, you can be behind me any time. Bring your gun, not mace, which is sometimes ineffective. If the dog had not stumbled, you would have taken things into your own hands and I doubt if the dog would have touched your wife. End of discussion. No shame. That's why you carry. Bless you!

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    Senior Member Array highoctane's Avatar
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    I dont know about mace but i wouldnt stop walking. I would get a big walking sticking. If it happened again i would use his head for baseball practice.

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    Member Array wolfshead's Avatar
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    You should have called 911. He needs to have his dog on a leash at all times when he is outside his property. That is the law here in WA state, unless of course, it is an off leash park.
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    Senior Member Array usmc3169's Avatar
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    The problem is that we are conditioned to place ourselves in front of danger to protect our wives and kids - taking that step back and insuring that you could deal with the threat accordingly was the right thing to do. It might not look the most "hollywood" and might not do much for your ego.

    How much worse would it have been if the dog/attacker had hurt some one you hold dear? Some times the heroic thing to do looks cowardly, or timid. some times you have to back down from a fight that either isnt worth winning or to costly to risk losing. Other times you have to retreat to a position of advantage to emerge victorious.

    But what do I know? ;-)
    "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."

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    New Member Array 35 Rem Girl's Avatar
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    Well, call 911 all you like. As a victim of a dog bite, I found it hard to get the attention of animal control over here in Newaygo county; I spent time in the hospital for infection from it. Unlicensed dog, no vaccinations, no one seemed to care that it happened, not even the owner. If you want it done right, do it yourself, my daddy used to tell me....

    Oh, while I'm on my high horse, the local health department didn't give a hoot, either. I was worried that the dog might magically "run away" and not be quarantined...then I would be in line for shots.

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    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    I like dogs. Nothing against them, and have had a few in my life. Now your aggressive pekingese, pomeranian, or maltese poodle don't phase me. They can be dangerous to children, and naturally the way people keep up on shots you never know what small bite could lead to a serious problem. But anything I can punt (sorry if that comes off wrong) I can have patience with.

    Now here is the new problem around where I live. People are taking their fences down. Some neighborhoods have a no fences requirement. All good.

    Now add in owners of larger dogs or more dangerous breeds (even a labrador retriever, can be threatening), who treat the family pet like it was a pekingese. No fenses, no leashes, no aeriel runs, etc. They might set up an invisible fence, but that has less to do with keeping people safe and more to do with not wanting to track down the dog. Invisible fencing is only as good as the training given to the dog.

    Now, in the last two years, the number dog confrontations in my neighborhood has increased to the point that you face a barking, snarling dog every other time you go for a walk. You don't look for it, you take different paths to avoid it, but 50% of the time you have to deal with it. This has included dogs who cross their invisible fense.

    I've suggested I need to start calling LE, but my wife points out, think about how often you are going to be calling PD, having the CCW conversation, then confront homeowners from our community.

    So I've started feeding cheap dogs treats on my walks. I'm not sure if I can get in trouble or not. However it has solved 75% or so of my dog confrontations. Your average dog goes from angry to in love for just a little food (at least with me). Still, there are the 1 in 10 confrontations like the one above (that is 1 out ever 20 walks I take).

    I should clarify these are summer walks. So I only really face this 4 or so months of the year. People don't let their dogs out as long during the winter.

    Now there are greater problems in the world, but I'm tired of this. So my new plan is mace in the left hand and holstered firearm ready to the right.
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    I probably would yell NO! and STAY! rather than Stop! since far more domestic dogs are familiar with the sound commands of "no" & "stay" as VS Stop!

    Well, there is no Video of the actual incident so I am hesitant to chime in on what your exact actions should have been.

    I would not ever place a loved one or an innocent between a potential deadly threat and the muzzle of my firearm.

    I guess you could justify that "Human Shield" action in this particular scenario as the vast majority of dog attacks are not typically instantly fatal or life threatening to an adult.

    So it's not exactly like you were throwing her to the wolves.
    Almost...but, not quite. J/K

    Really and honestly I want to be more critical but, without witnessing the actual event exactly as it went down...I think that would be extremely unfair to you.
    So...I will trust your explanation of that being (in your mind) the correct action to take in your particular circumstance.

    I will say that carrying OC spray (in hand) when you walk would be a fantastic idea.

    And (for sure) if I had OC Spray on my person I would have doused the dog in your scenario.

    There is nothing like a good, healthy, jolt of OC to instill some instantly enlightening "behavior conditioning/modification" into a charging canine.

    You certainly would have been justified in initiating that dog to an OC experience.
    I have found OC to be extremely effective on 4 legged scumbags....much more so than on the 2 legged varieties.

    They learn very quickly after being OCed that there can be some highly painful consequences to running at strangers.

  11. #10
    Member Array golfer's Avatar
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    Framkly, I believe you did two things correctly;
    1. You stopped the attack.
    2. You are continuing to review how the incident happened.
    I've a few thoughts or suggestions.
    1. The wife in front of you may not be a very good idea as the dog could get between you and her. [not at all questioning what you did] It seems that if she could stay behind you, you might have a better opportunity to tag the dog in needed.
    2. If the dog is going to remain in the neighborhood it may be time to prepare yourself with another means of lower lever defense, a walking stick, pepper spray , mace, amonia in a squirt bottle or just a treat as suggested so the dog becomes a known quantity.
    Hoping this is helpful.
    Best wishes.

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thanis View Post
    I don't like living life with the motto "...the ends justly the means." In this situation, it did.
    Effective tactics must be fluid enough to adjust to the circumstances. Simply, the threat justified the response. And it sounds like you'd have been justified in taking out the threat, had you two been jumped.

    A couple cans of hot pepper spray sounds like just the ticket, when walking together. One can ward off, and one can be prepared if that fails.
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    Member Array chains1240's Avatar
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    I am glad to hear things worked out for you, your wife and the dog. I would have called the police for two reasons. 1. There is a leash law in Michigan. The minute the dog leaves the yard the law is violated. 2. You had to unholster your weapon. As far as the law is concerned regarding dogs in Michigan this may help:

    (MCL 287.279)

    "Killing of dog pursuing, worrying, or wounding livestock or poultry, or attacking person; damages for trespass; effect of a license tag.

    Any person including a law enforcement officer may kill any dog which he sees in the act of pursuing, worrying, or wounding any livestock or poultry or attacking persons, and there shall be no liability on such person in damages or otherwise, for such killing. Any dog that enters any field or enclosure which is owned by or leased by a person producing livestock or poultry, outside of a city, unaccompanied by his owner or his owner's agent, shall constitute a trespass, and the owner shall be liable in damages. Except as provided in this section, it shall be unlawful for any person, other than a law enforcement officer, to kill or injure or attempt to kill or injure any dog which bears a license tag for the current year."

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    Member Array muddy's Avatar
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    Here is my opinion on what you did. When the dog first charged your fight or flight kicked in and you chose flight buy using your wife for protection. Probably a split second later your brain kicked in just enough to say what are you doing so you came around her and took care of the situation.

    Why do I think this way? Well first you seem to have Analise the situation and came up with a story about what you did but from your post you still don't quite seem to believe yourself fully. Secondly the best defense against a dog that close and charging would to be get as big as you can and as loud as you can while advancing on the dog and drawing your weapon, if it comes to it let the dog take your non weapon arm and stick your shooter against its guts and pull the trigger. Its hard to hit a fast moving target especially that close to your wife.

    The thought of my wife taking the attack so I could get set makes me sick to my stomach. I could not live with myself knowing she got the scars because I didn't stand up and take the hit. What if it was a gun or knife? Would you let her take the first hit to get set?

    Just my opinion, I assume thats what you are looking for.

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    This is one of those 'had to be there' situations. I would probably step in front of my wife in that situation...willing to take the bite, or get closer for the shot.
    I don't care if the owner sees the sidearm, a charging dog is something, that once the decision has been made, is going to be seen by others anyway, and I don't want my wife in the middle.
    Once the gun comes out, with or without shooting, 911 should be called.
    Glad it worked out for you, some dog owners just don't get it.
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    Member Array SHOOTER13's Avatar
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    Exclamation My 2 cents...

    Forget the mace, which usually dispenses as a cloud and needs inhalation and or more contact time by the attacker to be effective.

    Pepper spray, on the other hand, dispenses in a stream that can be readily aimed, and contact anywhere will be effective, as the capsicum
    ("Oleoresin Capsicum") or OC gas is a lachrymatory agent, a chemical compound that irritates the eyes and skin by causing searing pain and even temporary blindness that is used by the military, law enforcement, and citizens for personal self-defense, including defense against dogs and bears. Scoville Heat Units (SHU) are used to measure the concentration or "heat" of pepper spray.
    The Spitfire brand ( my choice ) carries a 2 million SHU rating. In comparison, a Habanero chili has a rating of 100,000.


    When I walk my dog, I carry my pistol and a small can of 10% solution as a non-lethal deterrant against two/four legged assailiants.
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