A mountain out of a mole hill
I've actually been attacked/mauled by a big dog, and it's really painful... also, a big dog often isn't snarling and showing signs of aggression before his attack, he's merely running toward you. Once he gets up to you, he makes his decision on whether or not to attack. But once he makes the decision to attack, you're pretty much helpless if you don't have a weapon of some type.
Last week, while jogging, I got approached by someone's domesticated pet, a shepard/husky mix who had apparently escaped his yard and was roaming the neighborhood at large. I always carry a gun when I jog, and I usually carry pepper spray too. He spotted me from across the street, ran up to me, and walked around me in a circle as he went through his decision process... I cut loose with a long spray of pepper toward his face. He stopped and licked his chops. While he reconsidered, I got my Bodyguard 380 ready. Luckily, he ran off and left me alone.
The thing is, he was not snarling and barking, but his look was pretty aggressive: head held low, level with his shoulders, tail slightly up, and wagging slowly side to side, eyes fixed on mine, as he walked slowly in a circle around me ....
It's a tough story. The truth is in the middle somewhere. Should the dog have been loose? No probably not, but the family dog occasionally gets out. Should the man have pulled out a gun and shot the dog? No probably not.
I walk outside to grab the mail in the morning and frequently my retriever comes with me and goes pee, occasionally someone will be walking and he'll run up to them. If someone pulled out a gun and shot my dog...I do not know what I would do. Things would evolve quickly though.
Not enough information in the story to make a fair judgement. I was attacked by a "sweet" family German Sheppard years ago.
I have a 12 lb Chihuahua mix. She's pretty harmless, but she will run up on joggers with her teeth bared, barking, and hackles raised.... she happens to be a mean looking black dog, about the size of a Jack Russell, and she looks a little scary when she does this .... When she does so, I scold her and smack her ass, trying to break that habit; I would be sad, but not surprised if a jogger felt threatened and defended themselves.
A vicious dog can do a lot of damage to someone, so I can't say I would not shoot if attacked by a dog. This incident happened a while back and as I recall one of the things they said at the time was that he knew the dog and even played with him. But, just because the dog had played with him in the past, doesn't mean he was not attacking him this time. I was not there, so I can't judge one way or another.
The one thing that bothers me the most is that over the last few months there has been a number of incidents where a cop shot and killed a dog. Some have even been posted and discussed on this forum. I can't recall one case where the cop was not cleared of wrongdoing. However, this guy guy might get the book thrown at him. If that is not double standards, then I don't know what is.
When I was 8 I watched my brother get mauled by an ex-Army German shepherd that ripped his calf and his arm open. The wounds weren't life-threatening by 2012 standards, but this was the late 50's and I remember seeing the exposed bone in my brother's leg and the pool of blood in the rear footwell of the car as we drove him to the local (rural) doc's office. I wouldn't wish that visual on anyone - seeing clothing and flesh get ripped open isn't a pretty sight. To the day he died, you could hammer a nail into my brother's leg and he wouldn't have felt it.
Sadly, there are too dang many irresponsible dog owners who are indifferent to their dogs running free in less-than-rural areas. 50+ years after my brother was attacked, I still am hyper-sensitive to the sound of a dog running while growling aggressively. I love dogs and have five of my own, 4 of whom I walk daily. I carry pepper spray, a knife and a gun so I have some options if things go sour. I've never had to draw the gun on a dog, but I've come across some very aggressive dogs who had me close to that point. One was a Great Dane that was literally dragging the early-teen girl who was "walking" him early one morning. Now I know Danes are a pretty playful and goofy breed, but this one had his ears back and tail lowered as he charged my dogs - not a playful posture. That one ended safely after some loud commands from me, but my point is that if you don't know the dog running up to you, you have scant assurance it just wants to say "hello".
As a result, I'm not ready to condemn the guy who shot the dog because I wasn't there. I'd suggest holding off on judgement of the shooter until ALL the facts of the incident are known.
I'd keep my lights on and tell the judge that I'd be doing so. You can't force someone to turn their lights off when it has no bearing on the issue at hand, and if the judge tried forcing it, there'd be a civil rights lawsuit on his desk in no time.
I've commented that charges like this can occur, to people who seem quick to say they'ld shoot any dog that comes running towards them "at all" ...... they've told me I'm nuts and "how justified" they are.......
I hope they read this thread.
I had a friend who was going to meet me out at our farm to go fishing ... after work. He was going to be there early and fish the pond by the house. We got there and his fishing pole, etc. were sitting by the pond, but he was no where around. The next day he told us...... some of the cows came up toward the pond to drink some water and he was "sure" they were going to eat him, so he ran to his car and was soooo scared to go get his stuff, that he drove home.
Those attack cows are dangerous too.
I carry at least 2 things with me at all times. A 9mm pistol, and Kimber pepper spray. If a dog were to come too close I would attempt to use the pepper spray first. The only exception to this would be if my 9 year old daughter were to be the intended target of the dog. The pistol would come out first in that situation.
It is in fact difficult to tell an aggressive dog from a docile one at times. I went to a friend's house once, and his dog acted nice at first, seemed happy and curious. I let him smell my hand, and within a fraction of a second he went from happy and friendly to "I WILL LITERALLY EAT YOUR HAND OFF". The only thing that saved me was my quick reaction and my friend's arm around the dog's throat. I know what to look for in order to tell if a dog is being aggressive or not, but that was a bit unexpected.
My own dog will bark at anybody and everybody he sees. Even our neighbors who he sees every single day. Maybe not aggressively (other people don't know this, just me, because he is my dog), but certainly enough to frighten the pizza guy and UPS man. The dog wouldn't hurt a fly.
Sometimes (probably mostly) there are clues that give away a dog's intentions, but not always. I agree with the opinion that there is not enough in this story to determine whether the judge or the shooter was in the right.
I don't think I would have felt very threatened by that breed coming towards me, but this guy may have. I've been chased by dogs routinely while running/cycling. Bottom line is dog owners fail miserably in controlling their dogs; whether in reference to training their dogs or restraining them - on a leash or in a yard. Seems like the ones that get out are repeat offenders and, again, the owners continually fail to take the necessary measures to control their pets. If something happens to your dog when you weren't in control of it, it's your fault; it's not anyone else's duty to attempt to read the mind of your dog. Case in point, there are posters admitting that they allow their dog to go running up to strangers off leash - not acceptable in any way; train or leash your dog.