Neighbor's Dangerous Dog
Need some advice/direction/resources....
(I am in Virginia)
Situation: My son was playing at the neighbors house on Thursday with their boys (similiarly aged, ~9 y/o) While they were playing, they began playing with the neighbors 90lbs German Shepherd. In the course of playing, my son (48lbs) was bit by the dog (twice), nearly tearing off his ear and inflicted an additional laceration and puncture on the back of his head. In total: 32 stitches and 3 staples (we have pictures)
We've got the ER visit done, sked follow-up with plastic surgeon, etc...and have begun a search for a lawyer (as plastic surgery is not cheap and I work for the Gov't--can anyone say TRI(not to)CARE?
Additional information: In January, this same German Shepherd attacked our Lab when the Lab was 12 weeks old, causing a puncture mark on the neck, and causing me to take the Lab to the Vet ER. A few weeks later, we discovered the G-S on our deck with our dog cornered (no barking, biting, but I think we got there just in time).
County Animal Control said their hands are tied since the bite happened on the dog owners property....yet they only interviewed the dog owners, not my son.
Question: Can anyone point me to resources/case law that will allow me to justifiably greet said dog with 165gr of JHP love if he comes onto our property with our dog and familiy members? He has already demonstrated he is a threat to humans and animals...do I have to retreat to my house, thus enabling the dog to control whether my kids play outside or not? Could I be subject to an animal cruelty charge?? Bueller? Bueller?
(FWIW, my dog is contained with an electronic fence and never/cannot leave our property.)
Mike in VA
Sorry about your son thats Pretty bad bites.
Im not sure the laws in your area but usually if the animal is attacking you can shoot it .
in california the dog if its known to bite has to be on a chain kennel ect.. if known to bite hence the fact you are responsable for the welfare for folks that are lawfully on your property other than that i dont know much i am how ever sorry for yours and your sons suffering hope every thing turns right my son was dog bit at one time
Might be time to talk to your local LE and ask what you can do to protect your family against a threatening animal without breaking the law. More than likely they will frown on discharging a firearm in city / town limits. I can tell you that OC spray will chase him off and should not get you in trouble if it's legal where you are. What is with the owner? If that had been my dog he would be down already. A dog that size that tears into a playing kid is too dangerous (or poorly trained and socialized) to keep.
Sorry to hear of your problems. With all of the expenses you have incured, i would see about sueing the neighbor personally.nothing gets someone's attention quicker than hitting them in the wallet. As always ,document , document , document. I don't know what the civil statutes are where you live, but enough documentation showing that the dog is a threat will definitley help you out in court if you have to put the dog down , especially if you take it out on your property.
First, I am sorry to hear about what happened to your son. And dog.
I also agree that using a firearm will get you in trouble... unfortunately, instead of him. If I were in your situation, I would contact LE and an attorney as stated before.
I love dogs (but I love my family and my dogs more), but in the meantime you have to do something to protect your family. Any less-than-lethal mathods should be applied: Pepper spray (as suggested) should work well and the dog will remember; BBs work well too -- and the dog will definately remember that; and high-pressure hose will intimidate some dogs too.
You can do what a friend of mine did to get rid of pesky dogs terrorizing his property. Buy several chickens and start raising them on your property. If the dog were to ever get on your property, in CA you are legally allowed to kill that animal on the basis that he is destroying your livestock (at least to my knowledge). My friend shot a dalmation that way and the LEO told them it was a clean shoot because he was protecting his livestock. Definetely check the laws in your state if your considering taking it to this level.
Did you know your son was at the house playing with this same dog that twice attacked your dog?
I would continue up the chain until somebody with some pull hears your story. Go to the local paper....maybe the media can do something positive for a change and stir people up enough to jump in your corner.
Sorry to hear your son was attacked and injured.
Dogs are property in VA, so the ticket for destruction of property on the dog probably isn't to bad. However depending on the distance to your house or any other house and whether or not you are in city limits could significantly complicate things. Shooting at, near or from an occupied dwelling, shooting in the streets and or discharge of a firearm within city limits. Those would all apply if it was not a justified case of self defense. Also keep in mind that since your dog is also property you are not allowed to use deadly force to defend it either. So their dog attacking your dog isn't enough. There would also likely be a civil proceeding on their part after you shot their dog. Depending on where you live etc. you could wind up rather poor or walking away. All depends on the jury that day. Also remember that air guns (aka BB guns) are treated as firearms under code, so shooting the dog with any of those could net you the same charges.
I would think that a lawyer with a civil case would solve this issue rather quickly. In addition to damages and such ask that the dog be destroyed. I don't know if VA would allow that, but worth asking about.
That was my exact question with this also. I am sorry to hear about your son, dog bites can be brutal. We all have an obligation to protect our own and a dog that is attacking me or my family in my yard, street or anywhere else for that matter will be put down right there and then! I will deal with the rest after protecting my family.
Iím praying for your sonís full recovery... as for the dog himself, I think you can convincingly articulate a reasonable fear of this animal. The dog has demonstrated present means and a determined willingness to do severe bodily harm!
You might bounce that off your attorney when you see him. :image035:
Prayers for the child. Remember that laws differ greatly from state to state. Here, animals are considered property but cruelty to animals is still a felony. Shooting a vicious animal to protect yourself, family or your own animal would probably not be considered a crime here. In the last few months, my dept. has killled three pits. Two attacked officers and another attacked one of our K-9's. All were considered justified.
One thing somewhat off topic: Don't expect one round to stop a determined vicious dog.
Sorry about your son.
I remember when we got our very first Newfoundland dog (back in 1989) and my wife and I were walking our new "child" down the street. As usual, at that time I was carrying my 1911 Combat Commander, strongside hip under a Banana Republic vest. Our little newfie was so small she was tottering along and could barely keep up. Little did we know that she'd grow to a 145 pound furball whose shed hair would fry three vacume cleaners. What a love pup.
So we're walking and we get to this house a few blocks away and there is this HUGE snarling Rottie bouncing up and down behind a three and a half foot wall next to his owner, a big fat smirking latino toking on a smelly cigar and swilling an amber colored liquid from a glass....straight. He's sneering at us. I put myself between him and the family.
I stop and remark casually: I sure hope that dog doesn't clear that wall and attack us...he certainly looks mean.
He replies with a smirk: What are you gonna DO if he does, huh? I bet you ALL will just POOP He laughs uproariously.
Rottie is getting closer to clearing the wall. I send family rapidly walking in the direction of home and I stay put. This makes the fat guy (fatter than ME, anyway) laugh even harder. I'm very calm. Measuring the angles and the background. Looking at the family as they are able to get away. The guy speaks again.
So what are YOU gonna do? You scared?
I reply this time: I sure hope that mutt stays on his side of that wall, cause if he clears it and either attacks me or goes after my family I'm just gonna have to put a 230 gr slug thru his skull. The only difference being if he goes after ME he gets one free BITE so I can SUE you, too.
Now fatso BLANCHED. The color drains from his face. He fairly screams: REX! GET INSIDE! and hustles the two of them away. I walked half a block and flagged down a neighborhood cop and told him the story. He chuckled and asked to see my piece. Said if the bozo called it in, he'd square things. Seems the dog had a rep for bites and the guy had already been cited previously. I never saw either one again. A couple of years later a different dog attacked the dog of friends of ours. The Akita was savage in attempting to rip out the throat of the friendly Great Pyreenes. Boscos's owner ran the Akita off with a fallen branch. I kept the Commander as my companion on our walks. I put tritiums on it after a Sharpei went after my wife in pitch darkness and I couldn't shoot because he was too close to my wife and I couldn't see my sights. I had to kick the dog away. I had already determined that if the dog clamped onto my wife, I'd run up and screw the barrel into his ear and squeeze the trigger. That way I could control the angle of the shot.
I find most cops, especially cops in the south like VA to be pretty understanding of such things.
If your state does not allow putting this obviously dangerous dog down, then it probably won't let you shoot it unless you or your family is in fear for your lives. So if you can't shoot it, think about having OC, bear spray, etc., and soaking it in the face the next time it shows any aggression. Another non-lethal alternative that will get its attention is a cattle prod (gives you some distance without blowing big bucks for a Taser). Of course, if said dangerous animal is loose or on your property, document it and call animal control.