On 7/29/2022 5:11 PM, Thomas Homilius wrote:
> Is it legal in U.S. shoot at unleashed dogs when they try to bite me?
> In my neighborhood there are some dog owners with big dogs. Whenever
> something doesn't suit these dog owners, they let their dogs run around
> in public without a leash.
> On Thursday, October 17, 2019, such a dog bit me. The dog owner was not
> to be seen. I was just about to go to the bus stop.
> Am I allowed in U.S. shoot that biting dog the next time I see that
> off-leash dog? The dog might bite me again!
You cannot legally shoot a dog just because he "might" bite you.
I can see two (non-exclusive) options:
1. Report the dog to animal control. They will probably take the dog in
and write a citation for letting it run loose. That will probably cost
the owner money, and it may also come with a warning of further action
(seizing the dog, maybe even killing it) if it's found running loose again.
2. If the dog runs at you, you can shoot it. You would have the same
right to self-defense as with a human -- if you legitimately fear being
bitten, you can shoot in self-defense. The previous bite is almost
certainly adequate basis for a "legitimate" fear.
Btw, if you still have the bite marks you should consider going to your
doctor or the local ER to have it treated. This will (among other
things) provide documentation that the dog has already bitten a human
By tradition, a dog is allowed one bite. A second bite will usually
result in the dog being killed by animal control.
I think I favor calling animal control. They will come out and take note
of the dogs running loose, probably take them all in. Then the owners
will have to pay a fine to get them back. (and get a lecture on the
rules for keeping animals in a city)
As a practical matter, you might also consider moving. Whatever you do
to defend yourself, you can bet that the dog's owner will blame you and
might do something nasty to you (a direct attack, vandalizing your home,
I do so have a memory. It's backed up on DVD... somewhere...