Do I mind my business or do I intervene?

Hello everyone!
Here’s a question that requires a legal and moral answer: what should we do if we encounter a pitbull or another war dog attacking a peaceful dog and is about to end its life? Should we draw and kill it? How about its owner, what if he/she decides to retaliate? Will the USCCA defend and represent us in court? What are our legal or moral obligations? Or should we just keep on walking?
Thank you in advance!


I’m no lawyer, so first check your local city and state statutes!
Wild animals-vs-domesticated and the use of deadly force!
In my case, if I encounter an animal attacking another animal, not in my lane, I keep driving! Dial 911 stay safe! The laws regarding deadly force against an animal are incredibly murky! But they are quite clear when it comes to humans!

Are we truly sure the attacking animal is intent on killing? Why would we want to shoot the owner, does the owner present a deadly force threat to you?
Not sure what constitutes a “war dog”.
My poodle can be just as viscous as any loving German Shepherd!



Both animals can kill.


I’m not sure of the legal answers to your scenario but I suspect that the USCCA may not cover you since you would not be defending yourself or another. I’m not sure another would apply to your own pets let alone a stranger’s?

Whether the insurance covers you or not there are many legal and civil consequences you could be faced with. Plus as with intervening in fights between other humans you don’t know you have the conundrum of figuring who is really the good guy and who is the bad guy, is this a deadly threat situation, and will the owners or other bystanders turn on you as the threat after you intervene. Even the owner of the animal you save could turn on you, physically or legally, as a dog killer.

I’d be leery of intervening with deadly force in the conflicts of strangers unless one was a clearly defenseless and clearly innocent victim such as a child or senior citizen, etc. Intervening for a dog seems even riskier.

From a moral standpoint my primary responsibility is being around to protect and provide for my family. I can’t do that if I’m behind bars, lose my right to own defensive tools, or am financially broke from legal fees or law suits.

Though I do carry pepper gel and would consider using that to break up the dog fight if I thought I could do it without risking serious injury to myself or others.


Back off, stay safe, and be a good witness.


I think around here a pet, for legal purposes, is considered property. So in my opinion it’d be better to stay out of it.


Years ago the USCCA magazine had an article that asked this question backwards. Rather than “can I use deadly force?” The questions should be “must I use deadly force?” If you don’t have to use deadly force to solve the problem then you shouldn’t use it.

Maybe the same article likened the gun to a magic pill that solved any problem you needed it to with the caveat that you only had one dose. Once you used it, it was gone forever. When would you use it? To get over a cold? To cure a spouse’s heart attack? To save yourself from deadly disease? To save the life of an animal? A gun is like that. Only you can answer the question of what you would use your pill for.

As one author titled his book, a gun should be used defensively only “In the Gravest Extreme.”

My gun is only for solving deadly force incidents against innocent people that I know to be innocent. And only to save people that I would spend my life in jail for (enter overzealous prosecutor reference here) than see die. That is an extraordinarily small number of people.

Just my $0.02.

Great thought provoking question.


Have OC spray on you? Use it on the attacking dog. Then be ready for human threats and leave the area ASAP.

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In most states, pets are considered property.

So the case would likely be analyzed as “can party A destroy the property of party B to prevent the destruction of property owned by party C without incurring liability to party B for the destruction of his property?”

I suspect the answer would be that party A would have to pay money damages to party B absent some showing of contributory negligence by party B (e.g., party B let his dog run loose and unsupervised) or party C (e.g., party C let his dog run loose and unsupervised).

I doubt whether the USCCA insurance – which, at its core is self defense insurance – would (or should) cover actions involving the use of firearms to destroy someone else’s property.


Welcome Vladimer.

Lots of varying considerations available, on different sides. My “initial” thoughts include:

Dogs usually make me smile big and want to pet them. But I’ve also been attacked and bit.
Despite their being “man’s best friend”:

  • A stranger’s dog(s)?
  • If I had to guess, no, my insurance would not cover me, though I didn’t look it up, if I could decide now, no I’d not pull that trigger for a sole “dog on dog” attack
  • Even if chance of background injury to human is remote, just too risky
  • Moving targets, what if I struck the wrong dog
  • Serious legal consequences post firing

I think it’s a terrific post/question as it expands to a lot pf other similar firearm topics for us to educate and train on.

Not to mention, laws around owning a dog, leash use, dog licenses, vaccinations, responsibilities of owners if their dog bites a person or another dog. Might such help reduce negative consequences.

In the USCCA magazine, July 2023, page 58 has an article “Man’s (Not-So) Best Friend”.

There’s a famous firearm dog related case/story; I regret I cold not find it again. If I can find “it”, I’ll post it, the old story’s a fascinating read.


I dunno about the Wheel Barrow Thing!?!? That sounds dicey as hell to me.


Your descriptions of the dog as a War Dog, sound a lot like the description of a semi auto AR-15, as a weapon of war, made up and histrionic.


I’m not drawing my gun to protect another persons dog. I have already made this decision.

It’s also probably not legal most places as dogs are property and you would be using lethal force to defend property that isn’t even yours.

I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice




My first tour in Iraq I was with some Royal Marines and they had real war dogs. The first thing they told us was to stay away from them or your dead.


The only time I would recommend deadly force in this situation is if the attacking dog turned on you and was a real threat you could not avoid.
In most states animals are considered property so the property rules would apply.
I don’t think the USCCA insurance would cover you.


If we are saying that dogs are just property, then youre not using “deadly force” to kill property. Deadly force would only apply to shooting a human - in this case, the owner of the agressive dog after he comes at you for killing his dog.


But you could be charged with illegally discharging a firearm (since you would not be doing it for a legal self defense purpose), reckless endangerment and destruction of property probably along with several other things. And that doesn’t include the potential civil liabilities.

Not to mention that once you deployed your firearm on the attacking dog the owner/s could claim they felt threatened and take action to defend themselves. Far too messy a situation for me to volunteer to put myself in the middle of.


Agreed, maybe just kick the dog in the head then.

IMO if you kick one dog in the head you are in range of two dogs who are at code RED