Question of the Day: Is This a Defensive Gun Use (DGU)?

traye writes:

Last night my wife was coming home. She pulled into the drive and a pitbull she had never seen run up to the door growling and barking. She waited for it to walk off then got out if the car. When she got to the door it came running out of the dark, she pointed her gun and said (as if the dog would understand) “I will shoot you dog.” They stood there for a minute and the dog turned and walked away. Now I don’t think that the dog understood “gun” but having her Glock ready to go surely gave her confidence to stand her ground she would not have had otherwise. I am glad she was armed and standing with resolve and not screaming and running. Is this considered a DGU?

comments

  1. avatar Jay Sellers says:

    If it were a bear, no question. However, so many folks treat dogs better than their children, though it’s not generally a good idea to let either of them run loose. Shoot the dog and you and the guy down the street are enemies for life.

    1. avatar إبليس says:

      And? My wife’s life is infinitely more valuable than a neighbor’s opinion.

    2. avatar miforest says:

      absolutely DGU, and if it actually tries to bite you, you shoot the dog.
      guys who can’t buy a gun because they’re ex-con’s , so they get a couple of BAD dogs. they get loose and kill people here in detroit.

      1. avatar Will says:

        Correction. the ex-con can’t get a gun, (or has them anyway) and gets himself a few dogs… those dogs are either trained previously, or by the new owner to be BAD dogs.

        Pitt-bulls were at one time the go to dog to keep your little ones safe (they got the nick-name nanny-dogs)…

        NOW you get idiots who see that power, and teach the dogs how to be BAD and predatory (unless, like any other dog, even your own, it is let to fully mature mentally… then they are just as dangerous as a wolf)

        Like guns, The dog is not necessarily bad. It’s what the owner(s) do or have done to it that can make them dangerous and bad.

        1. avatar miforest says:

          bad dogs is bad . they are dangerous.

        2. avatar Rustic Bliss says:

          I’m with you. It’s Not the breed- its the trainer. My brother had a red nose pit- full champion breed. He raised it from a Pup. The dog saved his sons life when a Rottweiler came loose and charged the boy. RED was a great dog. Loved my many- even had a cat as a best friend.
          Yet- the dogs brother- same litter- was raised by someone else and trained to be vicious. The dog became a “champion” (for lack of a better disgusting word) in the dog fighting world. The dog later attacked his own owner and was put down.
          Red just passed away last month at the age of 14.
          So it’s just like gun ownership. If you have good intentions and are a responsible owner- the gun or Dog could be a positive, protective, meaningful part of your life.
          If you have bad intentions- the gun or pit bull could be wreckless and dangerous.

  2. avatar Woodsman says:

    If the dog bites the wife you and the owner will still be enemies for life. Who cares? Shoot the dog if you have to.

    1. avatar Will says:

      I agree. If the dog decided to attack, there should be no qualms about shooting such a powerful dog that apparently owners somewhere down the line decided they wanted to be vicious.

  3. avatar Aharon says:

    What would the future relationship be with the dog’s owner if the wife bites the dog?

  4. avatar RAN58 says:

    I say ‘Yes’! It was a defensive gun use. Although the dog probably backed off more due to her posturing. Hopefully she was aware of what was behind the dog to insure no one was in the line of shot in case she missed.

  5. avatar RKflorida says:

    If whatever is attacking me or mine can cause harm, it’s dead. Whether it can cause death or only injury is not my concern. If you think a mutt running loose that can put puncture wounds in me is OK, you are crazy. Keep your mutts under restraint or expect them to be dead. As far as my “relationship” with the neighbor (who is stupid enough to let a dangerous animal run loose) I’ll take it as it comes. Folks need to remove their heads from their nether regions and realize that their “precious puppy” is viewed as a 4 legged nightmare when it acts aggressively towards a stranger.

    1. avatar Will says:

      ” Folks need to remove their heads from their nether regions and realize that their “precious puppy” is viewed as a 4 legged nightmare when it acts aggressively towards a stranger.”

      People also need to know to train their dogs to be better behaved. Unfortunately some want a mean and dangerous dog so the encourage, or at the least do nothing to discourage, such behaviors. It matters not the breed.

  6. avatar Jimmy says:

    No question,the police would have shot it so would I and dogs are short so a downward shot should be safe but she showed restraint so you should be proud of her but once the dog gets too close and passes your comfort zone I say it’s fair game plus your neighbor will still be mad about paying Dr bills and fines

    1. avatar William says:

      Agreed, but how close is close?
      A human attacker with a knife can get to you at 15 feet easily before you can get a shot off; how quick can a dog get to ya? Odds are, you’ll have to shoot it while it is attached to your arm or leg, ‘if’ you’re lucky and it doesn’t get your gun hand (and gun) first.
      If dog threatens me or mine in my yard, said dog will die. The attacker in this case is armed (teeth), has the opportunity to attack (quick as a snake), and is stating it’s intention to inflict bodily harm (growling, barking).
      I appreciate the wife’s restraint, but if that dog decided it was ‘go time’ would she have been able to shoot and hit it in time?
      If it was a small wolf or a large coyote or a dingo, what would be appropriate? Dogs are domesticated somewhat, but pitbulls in particular are responsible for maulings all over the U.S. on a routine basis.
      I’d have shot it.

      1. avatar Will says:

        “Dogs are domesticated somewhat, but pitbulls in particular are responsible for maulings all over the U.S. on a routine basis.”

        AND before that it was the rottweiler… and before that it was the German Sheppard, and before that it was the….

        The Dog breed isn’t the problem. It’s the owners who abuse, neglect, want a mean dog, or want a fighting dog that are the problem. NOT the breed. Sadly, currently the “in” dog for fighting and being mean is the pit-bull.

        1. avatar Dan says:

          it is not “the” problem, but dog breed IS a contributing factor.

          it’s amazing how many owners are suprised their “sweetie” pitbull spontaneously rages and mauls a child out of the blue.

          genetic factors DO play a role. like it or not.

  7. avatar Boris says:

    Pulled a .45 on the dog of some crackheads they sicced on me and trespassed threatening me. The big mutt charged me and started circling me snarling and barking. Pulled the gun and was ready to frag the dog. The crackheads bolted and screamed for their cur the second they saw the gun. This all occurred in my large front yard right next to my front porch. Called the cops on them. Cop showed up, took their statements that the dog “got loose” and came on my property but “wasnt dangerous” and that I “waved my gun towards them while they were in the street.” They lied like rugs and denied coming onto my property. I was alone, no witnesses. The cop then arrested me for pointing/presenting on my own property. When I gave him my CCW permit and told him they were trespassing and threatening me with their dog he laughed and said “this will be revoked. You cant pull a gun on trespassers.”

    Sitting in the cop car dumbfounded I told this obviously psycho cop “those are a bunch of lying crackheads.” His response: “Crackheads have rights too.”

    At that point I got scared and STFU. After booking and being held in lockup for 22 hours I bonded out and lawyered up. After a year the charges were quietly dismissed. My permit were quietly returned with no apologies. The whacked out patrol cop was promoted to detective. I installed surveillance cameras everywhere and removed the “911” buttons from my phone. The next Fido and his crackhead master better be wearing kevlar underwear. The end. (?)

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      “Crackheads have rights too.”

      Crackheads have police to protect their rights from us. We have firearms to protect our rights from them. The world keeps spinning.

      Sometimes I think that the reason cops have uniforms is so we’ll know what gang they belong to.

      1. avatar virtualjohn says:

        A gun in the hand is worth two cops in the doughnut shop.

    2. avatar Aharon says:

      Boris,

      Sorry to read about the insane unjust ordeal that you went through. What state do you live in?

      1. avatar Boris says:

        SC, which for all its redneck good ole boy veneer is really a Democrat voting criminal coddling state. The county PD just had their chief quietly go into retirement instead of open up the drapes to all the corruption. They make the LAPD look like pikers when it comes to dirty cop BS. I literally feel more comfortable with a car load of gang bangers pulling up behind than a bubbletop. Could write a book about this wretched county but would have to move out first or become targeted.

    3. avatar Scott Henson says:

      The funny thing is, putting a couple holes in their mutt would have made things better for you. That becomes physical evidence of how far the dog was in the yard and how close the dog was to you. Next time, if you honestly fear for your life, pull the trigger.

      There are two more things you could have done to help your situation. The first is a good lawyer. Call 911, then your lawyer. When the cops come, you say, “I feared for my life and shot the dog. I am shaken up, I would like to arrange a time I can come down to the station and give my statement.” If they arrest you or let you schedule a time, bring your lawyer. A good lawyer will talk with the ADA and arrange for the crack heads to spend some time in a prison cell.

      If the above doesn’t work, here is where the media comes in handy. Snarling dog + drug addicts attacking a home owner will have any reporter licking their chops. A nice sob story about how the cops believed some crack heads over you will convince the ADA that they are going after the wrong person. No DA or sherif wants to get a reputation of protecting drug addicts over a good, tax paying home owner.

      It is sad that you can’t just tell the truth and let justice take its course, but this is the country we live in.

  8. avatar Scott Henson says:

    Definitely a DGU. And definitely a situation where having the confidence to stand her ground saved her. Dogs generally respond very well to confidence and will not attack a larger animal that does not fear it, at least in my experience. So having the gun there to make your wife confident in her stance saved her from a nasty situation.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      +1000

  9. avatar Lt Dave says:

    Yes it is.

    In my “previous employer’s jurisdiction” of Southern California, pit bulls are considered to be “issued anti-personnel” equipment. The dogs are not well cared for and tend to vacate the premises of their abusive owners and then reek havoc on the world at large.

    Our officers shoot more pit bulls in self defense more than any other firearms use. Dogs are students of human behavior. They can smell fear and they can also see that when a human stands their ground, there must be a reason.

  10. If, in fact, you are being charged by a dog you believe could do you harm, then you should shoot it, and realize there may be consequences.

    The minute you pull your weapon you better have already decided to accept the consequences for your action.

  11. avatar Steven says:

    Funny enough I’m a little more on the fence about it. From the perspective of a ‘citizen’, the right thing to do would be to call the police. Just like if a bear was at your front door. As long as it hasn’t damaged anything or growled or roared at someone, it’s not shootable in my mind. Now if it gives signs that it is threatening or if you are dumb enough to get out of your car with a bear/dangerous dog, then you are risking your safety without good reason. I’d wait for cops to come to detain the creature and then continue about my night.

    With all of this being said, it a dog comes into my yard and has intent on attacking, I’m putting ol’ yeller down. Try for a bear if possible (run it over and then shoot it). But yeah. That’s my take.

  12. avatar Dare says:

    So hi, it’s me, the gun-wielding wife. Glad to see I’m not the only one who thinks this is totally a DGU. I agree the dog probably backed off because of my confident stance, and it was definitely my .40 that gave me the confidence. To follow on the thoughts of some posters, when I drew my weapon I was absolutely prepared to fire it, neighbors be damned. And I was standing on my porch aiming down the steps at the pooch, so had nothing in the background to worry about hitting. But the thanks really goes to my husband who insists I carry when alone. A cute Nine West handbag gives a girl a good amount of confidence, but without him, that would have been my only weapon.

    1. avatar Michael B. says:

      I would’ve shot it. You don’t know what a dog is going to do nor do you know if it’s going to back off.

  13. avatar Matt in FL says:

    I say no, this is not a DGU. If showing your weapon (and your intent to use it if necessary) to a goblin causes them to reconsider their actions and depart with no shots fired, then I would still call that a DGU, because they recognized the gun and what it represented vis-a-vis their future chances of remaining vertical. The dog did not recognize the gun, nor what it meant, simply the attitude that came along with it. No DGU.

    I suppose it’s good that having the gun in hand gave her the confidence to stand her ground, but you don’t need a gun to have that confidence. If she had no gun, but whispered to herself, “As long as God is with me, I have nothing to fear” and exhibited the same confident assertive behavior, the outcome would likely have been the same.

    1. avatar virtualjohn says:

      God made man. Col. Colt made women equal.

    2. avatar speedracer says:

      Matt….as a dog owner and breeder of Staffordshire pits, boxers and german shepherds I say it is a dgu!!! Having had one of my pits try to attack me I put him down with a .357 to the skull!!!
      I did find out later that evening that he had been bitten sometime that morjning by a rattlesnake!!!
      I have raised my kids and grand kids around all of these dogs for over 9 years and this is the only time we had any trouble!!!!
      Based on the knowledge of what these animals can do if not properly trained yea I think she was 100% correct in her actions!
      Having faith in God makes a lot of difference in people’s attitude but these dogs are smart enough to know when a person can defend themselves so to speak!!!!
      My dogs did not come around anyone with a gun unless they were told to!!!!!

      1. avatar Matt in FL says:

        speedracer: !!1!onehundredeleven!1!

        Wow, bud, calm down.

        …as a dog owner and breeder of Staffordshire pits, boxers and german shepherds I say it is a dgu!!!

        Well, as a long time viewer of Cesar Milan’s Dog Whisperer program, I believe that her “calm, assertive” attitude was what did it, not the gun, and I say it’s not a DGU.

        …I put him down with a .357 to the skull!!!

        OK, fine. That was a DGU.

        …I think she was 100% correct in her actions!

        I never said she was wrong.

        Having faith in God makes a lot of difference in people’s attitude but these dogs are smart enough to know when a person can defend themselves so to speak!!!!

        No, they know when people act like they can defend themselves. Which is what the lady did. If having the gun in her hand made her feel more powerful, fine, that doesn’t make it a DGU. If she had mace in her hand without using it, that wouldn’t have made it a defensive mace use. If, as I said, she had clutched her crucifix and thought, “When God is with me, no man (or dog) can be against me” that would not have made a defensive God use. (I’m purposely sidestepping the religious person’s belief that “God made that dog run away” because I don’t feel it’s relevant to the question. And you can’t “use” God. Or something. My point is, please don’t have a religious flip out on me. I meant no offense.)

  14. avatar Sanchanim says:

    absolutely DGU
    Glad to hear she was no worse for ware.

  15. avatar KWAL says:

    No one seems to be answering the question. Nice choice of firearm for the photo BTW. It was NOT a defensive gun use, because the gun had nothing to do with the dog leaving, and it was not fired. I’m not sure you can even “brandish” a weapon at an animal. But had she needed to fire to defend herself on her property it definitely would have qualified as a DGU. This is where I get into it with idiots that lack any sense of when an animal is threatening them. The dog would have turned and left had she just pointed and sternly said “GO HOME.” That is the case with 90% of “vicious” dog encounters. RF was right to say he was glad she was not running and screaming. That’s the best way to get bit. She didn’t need the gun to drive the dog away and neither do most people that decide to shoot in similar situations. But we don’t have the same standard of proof when it comes to animals do we?

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      No one seems to be answering the question.

      I did, and came to the same conclusion you did.

      1. avatar KWAL says:

        Sorry Matt. I think we were typing at the same time if you check out the stamp, but I beat you by a couple mins. We both said pretty much the same ideas. I agree with your post as I think you probably do with mine.

        I must be doing something right today. Usually when I post something that someone else is saying I’m a little late.

        DAMMITT! I just saw your other post farther above and it looks like you beat me about 50 mins with a pretty concise post. See what I mean about being late…

        1. avatar Matt in FL says:

          You’re right though, KWAL. 35 responses, only 8 actual answers to the question. I especially like how some didn’t bother to answer in their haste to be ITG’s and tell a story about what they did, or what they would do, in their infinite badassery, when faced with a similar situation.

          We seem to be in the minority, though. It’s currently running 6-2 in favor of calling it a DGU.

          Correction, now 9 actual answers, and 7-2 in favor. Wiebelhaus snuck one in as I hit Post.

        2. avatar KWAL says:

          Of course we are in the minority. Obviously we both know it’s lonely at the top. 🙂

          I am glad the woman had the nerve to stand her ground and came out the better for it. I wonder if, having been through this, as a learning experience, she would be more likely to hold off a shot as long as possible in the future, if she was faced with this again. Now she knows that a barking, growling dog will often turn and leave, if stood up to. Maybe it’s my male chauvinism, but I tend to believe women are less prone to kill indiscriminately and shrug it off.

  16. avatar Bob says:

    Clint Eastwood (as Josie Wales) didn’t mean this to apply for a dog attack, but it seems very appropriate, doesn’t it?

    “Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you’re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. ‘Cause if you lose your head and you give up, then you neither live nor win. That’s just the way it is.”

    I love that saying, because it encompasses the idea of the Combat Mindset so well.

    1. avatar virtualjohn says:

      How about; “Are you gonna pull those pistols or whistle Dixie?”
      or; “Dyin’ ain’t much of a livin’, boy.”
      or; Josie Wales: “When I get to likin’ someone, they ain’t around long.”
      Lone Watie: “I notice when you get to DISlikin’ someone, they ain’t around for long neither.”
      I do enjoy that movie.

  17. avatar Greg Camp says:

    This one comes down to psychology, since no shot was fired. In the mind of the gun owner, it’s a defensive gun use. The weapon was drawn to be used if needed. What was going on in the mind of the dog is the other side of the story, but good luck with that analysis. Actually, it may be easier to understand a dog’s mind than that of a crackhead. Dogs often will comply with a harsh word, for example. What the dog here apparently came to understand was that it was the beta in the situation. If the woman’s gun was a part of what made her the alpha, then this is a DGU.

  18. avatar tdiinva says:

    It depends on the jurisdiction. In Arlington VA it is very ambiguous. Not concerned about killer dogs in my neighborhood but there are a lot of racoons including an occasional rabid one. I don’t want my dogs messing with a ‘coon because being coondogs they will kill it. If it is found to be rabid they will quarantined for 60 days so I would prefer to shoot an aggressive animal on my property. However, you can’t hunt with firearms (understandable given the density) or discharge a firearm unless it’s in self defense. It all depends on the whim of the cop, the neighbors or the prosecutor as to whether the animal presented a clear and present danger. If it does then I would consider it a DGU. If not then it could qualify you for the IGOTD.

  19. avatar GS650G says:

    Two vicious dogs were running around my neighborhood so I called a cop. I asked him if I could shoot the dogs if they attacked or cornered someone and he said ” Go ahead, I would.”

  20. avatar Mark Horning says:

    Had to do the same thing a couple years ago. Pit bull had my wife (and baby daughter) cornered in our front yard. Had the wife very slowly back towards the front door while I kept the front sight of my Kimber on the dogs head.

    I figure a dogs brain is about the size of my fist. Hitting a moving target like that is probably harder than most shooters think.

  21. avatar jkp says:

    People > Dogs.

    End of story.

    1. avatar KWAL says:

      How profound! I would amend. Some People (not many)> Dogs

      1. avatar Will says:

        Other side of the coin… *and very wrong IMHO*: In the eyes of PETA, dogs > humans. (in the eyes of PETA: any animal > human)

        Although no shots fired, I’d have to lean towards DGU. It was already down to a reflex action had the dog moved the wrong way.

  22. avatar Wiebelhaus says:

    Yes, 100%.

  23. avatar frangon4 says:

    I had a similar situation this year.
    I say Yes , it is DGU. Good that she is okay.

  24. avatar bontai Joe says:

    Yes, I call this a good DGU. Just because the dog didn’t recognize it as such, doesn’t change the fact that the gun allowed her to remain in control and not panic. Take away the gun, and the probable result is a mauled woman. Some years back, one of my mutant neighbors had a pair of Rotties that ran loose everywhere. I home carried ALL THE TIME back then, as facing two dogs that powerful and ill tempered constantly put me in fear of getting severely chewed up. Luckily I never had to shoot the dogs, but they saw the business end of my Glock from 30 feet more than once in my yard. Luckily for me, that bunch of mutants left after less than a year.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      Self-defense tip: HOME CARRY ALL THE TIME. Why did you stop?

  25. avatar Walter says:

    By definition she USED her GUN to DEFEND herself from the dog; therefore it was a DGU.

    I would agree that the verbal threat didn’t send the dog off, but her confident prepared stance an demeanor would have spoken volumes to a dog as that is their primary way of complicating a threat to each other.

    1. avatar Matt in FL says:

      I think you’re stretching the “by definition.” To reiterate my comment above, if she had held a container of bear mace in her hand, knowing she could fall back on shooting the dog with it should her attitude be insufficient, would you be arguing that it was a Defensive Mace Use?

      Edit: Yes, I know I’m being pedantic. Have we met?

  26. avatar Nick in CA says:

    I say Defensive Gun Use (DGU). I would have done exactly as she did! This was a growling and barking pitbull. I see a lot of truth in many statements, and agree with the others who say DGU like bontai Joe and Walter. The dog reacted to her confidence, tone of voice and aggressive demeanor (weapons help there). I have seen dogs react to that. I want the weapon in my hand if the dog decides to charge and would fire if need be. I can fully justify the action I take!

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email