While walking my little dog

If i am walking my little dog and a large dog attacks it can i shoot the attacking dog?

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Hello and welcome @Mark832 , each state has different laws. Where are you located?

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Welcome to the community @Mark832

As @Karacal pointed out, the rules vary depending on location. It would also depend on your definition of attack. Is the other dog just approaching in a very aggressive manner or is it actively in a tussle with your dog? If the former you are likely to have a harder time justifying the use of deadly force. If the later then you will likely have a very hard time getting a clean shot off without the risk of hitting your own dog or missing and having the bullet deflect off the street in some random direction where it could hit something or someone.

Aggressive dogs are one of the main reasons I carry pepper gel with me whenever I am outside of my home and usually even when I am in it. It provides a non lethal option that can be easier to justify using and in cases like trying to break up a dog fight it can be significantly safer to use as well. It can be very effective though it doesn’t always work so you have to be prepared to use greater force if it is needed and legal to do so.

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Around here Pet’s are considered property so use of force in defense of a dog pretty much falls in the same bucket as force in defense of your TV or Bicycle. Now, if the dog attacks you, a person, that’s a bit different story.

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I’ve used pepper spray!!! It’s stopped them in their tracks!!!

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Probably not.

It depends.

Firing a gun in defense of property is generally a no

And yes, Pepper Spray

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I live in California and i will get some pepper spray. My dog is a Yorkie so it could not put up much of a fight

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As a legal gun owner in California, you should understand that discharging a firearm in justified self defense still lands you in jail most of the time… I can’t imagine it would be any better if doing so to defend a dog.

You’d be better off, taking a huge bong rip and stabbing the offending dog with a knife,… then go after its owner too for good measure… that has been proven acceptable with only a slap on the wrist in California.

This has not been legal advice, nobody, ever, should consider anything posted by this user as legal advice.

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Within city limits, a big no no. I’m in Nor-Cal.

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@Mark832 Welcome to the community! You probably cannot shoot the large dog that attacks your little dog. Most States these days are pretty iffy about discharging firearms within the city, parks etc. (excluding criminals who never obey laws). Best to carry another alternative, pepper spray, a walking stick, etc., unless the big dog attacks you (killer bad @$$ pitbull :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:), and as a last resort, you have no other choice, well that’s a different story.

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@Mark832 , Welcome to the Community. :handshake:

I would ask an attorney or any educated in Law language person to translate this into the clear English. :point_down:


California Code, Civil Code - CIV § 3341
The owner, possessor, or harborer of any dog or other animal, that shall, on the premises of any person other than the owner, possessor, or harborer of such dog or other animal, kill, worry, or wound any bovine animal, swine, horse, mule, burro, sheep, angora goat, or cashmere goat, or poultry, shall be liable to the owner of the same for the damages and costs of suit, to be recovered in any court of competent jurisdiction:

  1. In the prosecution of actions under the provisions of this chapter, it shall not be necessary for the plaintiff to show that the owner, possessor, or harborer of such dog or other animal, had knowledge of the fact that such dog or other animal would kill, wound or worry bovine animals, swine, horses, mules, burros, sheep, goats, or poultry.

  2. Any person on finding any dog or dogs, or other animal, not on the premises of the owner or possessor of such dog or dogs, or other animal, worrying, wounding, or killing any bovine animals, swine, horses, mules, burros, sheep, angora or cashmere goats, may, at the time of finding such dog or dogs, or other animal, kill the same, and the owner or owners thereof shall sustain no action for damages against any person so killing such dog or dogs, or other animal.

Nothing in this section shall render an owner, possessor, or harborer of a dog liable for the accidental or unavoidable killing or injury of any bovine animal, swine, horse, mule, burro, sheep, angora goat, cashmere goat, or poultry which occurs in connection with or as an incident to the driving or herding the same from the premises of the owner, possessor, or harborer of the dog, whether such killing or injury occurs upon such premises or off of such premises.


My understanding is that any person can kill any animal (including a dog) that is off the premises of the owner and is worrying, wounding or killing certain listed animals.

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The way I read the code you quoted it doesn’t provide any rights to kill a dog that is trying to kill your dog. The listed animals it allows you to kill a dog to protect only seem to include various livestock animals. If you are walking your chicken down the road and a dog attacks it then you might have a right to kill the dog under this code but I did not see dogs on the list of protectable animals.

The likely bigger issue in CA is that even if you act 100% legally you could still be charged by an anti self defense DA with a bunch of other “crimes” like discharging a firearm in city limits, reckless endangerment, etc., etc……

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It’s like “damned if you do and Damned if you don’t” if you face that anti self defense DA.

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That’s the problem with interpretation…
I just reviewed several Law portals about California Code, Civil Code, CIV § 3341 and all of them confirmed that dog is included as the animal protected by the owner.

Perhaps this part

kill the same

explains?

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@Ted44 , I’ve used PEPPER SPRAY on attacking dogs to protect my wife, myself and our small childern (dogs).
It does work.

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I think regardless what Law says it’s always a smart choice to use non deadly weapon if possible, especially if we know it works.

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I take that section to mean that if the owner of the listed animals that were harmed finds the dogs that did the harm and kills them (“kill the same” dogs that did the harm) they will not be held liable for damages and loss of the dogs to the harassing dog’s owner.

Since livestock provide food and income for people there are often laws that give the owners a greater ability to protect their livelihoods from attacks by domesticated and wild animals.

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Jokingly someone i know said if they were taking a TV, they would make the TV useless. :us:

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Please, try not to shoot a dog if it seems a threat!! But, shoot a human if they seem a threat!!! :melting_face:

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You just changed my entire philosophy on protecting my stuff.

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