Dog-beater-1000x460

This article originally appeared at texaslawshield.com and is reprinted here with permission.

We were all shocked and angry when we heard about the CenterPoint Energy employee who was caught on video attacking a homeowner’s dogs with a wrench. Almost everyone agreed that this was a cruel and violent act but there’s still a question – what are a homeowners’ rights if this happens to them? We asked Texas Law Shield Independent Program Attorney, and attorney at the law firm of Walker & Byington, Emily Taylor to shed some light on this issue . . .

Let me begin by saying I love my dog (and really, who wouldn’t love that cute little face?), and I was outraged when I saw the video. If you watch closely, you can see a tooth from the dog knocked out and land in the pool; it made me feel sick to my stomach. However, when I read comments on the internet, most people talk about immediately shooting the man (and that’s one of the more pleasant sentiments out there). I saw this as a teachable moment and wanted to reach out and shed some light on this issue.

Preliminary Law

First, we need to talk about property rights. Many people said that the employee was a trespasser, but was he? Probably not. Texas Penal Code 30.05 defines when a person is (or more importantly, isn’t) a trespasser. One exception to being a trespasser is outlined in subsection (e)(2)(A); an employee or agent of an electric or gas utility company has the right to enter a homeowner’s property to get to the meter. Since this man was employed by a subcontractor to Centerpoint Energy, this means he was not a trespasser. Also note that there is no legal requirement that he has to announce his presence before checking the meter, and he does not have to ask the homeowner to put up any dogs.

However, CenterPoint Energy has their own policy that goes beyond the bare bones of the law. Under company policy, the employee has a duty to ask that dogs are put up, and if the employee encounters any dogs, to retreat. It is unknown whether they also require the same for their subcontractors, but it seems likely that they do. Keep in mind, though, just because the employee violated company policy does not mean that he broke the law!

Did the Centerpoint Energy Contractor Break the Law?

So we know he wasn’t a trespasser, and we know he possibly violated company policy. The next question a lot of people asked was: did the CenterPoint employee break the law at all? The answer is that he probably did. Texas Penal Code 42.092 states that when he intentionally, and without consent, caused serious bodily injury to the animal, he committed the crime of animal cruelty (a state jail felony!).

The story doesn’t end there, though! Subsection (e)(2) of 42.092 creates a defense to the charge of “animal cruelty” if the animal was injured within the scope of the person’s employment in furtherance of activities or operations associated with natural gas delivery. At first glance, since he was a subcontractor for Centerpoint Energy, you would say he seems to be excluded from the crime of animal cruelty. However, recall our discussion earlier about Centerpoint Energy’s policies. Since he violated company policy, was he acting within the scope of his employment? This is an excellent question that will be hashed out between the contractor’s defense attorney and a prosecutor!

While it’s unclear as to whether or not he can dodge the Animal Cruelty charge, there’s another crime called “criminal mischief.” Under Texas law, dogs are considered property. This means that when the contractor began attacking the dogs, in the eyes of the law, it’s the same as if the contractor started smashing lawn furniture or breaking potted plants with his wrench.  Under Texas Penal Code 28.03, if a person without the consent of the owner damages property, it is a crime (the severity of which depends on monetary damage done). Accordingly, from the facts, the state could potentially bring the charge of criminal mischief as an alternative to animal cruelty.

Could the homeowner have used deadly force to protect the dogs?

Since there is very little chance the homeowner felt afraid for his life (he was safely inside the house, and there was no indication that the Centerpoint contractor was going to attack him), we have to look to the “defense of property” statutes. A homeowner may use deadly force to protect property against criminal mischief, but only at night. If the criminal mischief occurs during the day, the homeowner can only respond with force.

So what could the homeowner have done?

Essentially, the homeowner could legally use force (punching, tackling, etc.) as long as it did not escalate to deadly force (death, or serious bodily injury). In Texas, under Texas Penal Code 9.04, you can show your gun and ask the employee to leave your property, and that is considered a use of force; not deadly force!

If this isn’t the outcome you were expecting, you’re not alone. The current law limits the ways homeowners can protect their pets, regardless of the status pets have as our family members. We don’t like this law and if you don’t either, contact your Texas legislature to get this fixed!

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95 Responses to Bark, But Don’t Bite! Defending Your Animals From Human Threats

  1. Animals do not have the same rights and are not equal to humans. This is an emotional issue. And all people, not just gun owners, need to learn to control their emotions when in a potentially deadly scenario such as this.

    Think with your head, not your heart. Are you willing to risk going to prison? Being seperated from your loved ones, children? Financial ruin? Over a dog or any other animal?

    This is just the scenario for a pet tiger.

    • This is exactly what needs to change, pets need legal protection equal or greater than that of humans because there is so much scum that will hurt them just because they can. Treating your pets as disposable and third rate garbage is part of this problem, and part of over population of shelters. FLAME DELETED

      My dog sleeps in the same bed, on the same couch and shares the same food. I have him on a raw diet so everything is indeed interchangeable with a little cooking. You may not include your pets in the family but many of us do and we need protection under the law.

      • “… pets need legal protection equal or greater than that of humans…”

        Let’s not go off the deep end here.

        If you are advocating for greater punishment in regards to animal abuse, then I’m all for it. However, animals and humans are equal, so equal protection is not the way to go.

      • My wife, “Mother Earth”, says that all of her creatures are members of her family and any who harm them must be killed under Texas law…. All duck hunters, pig and cow and chicken ranchers, fishermen, game wardens, poachers, etc must necessarily die under this edict (sarc)….. Thank you for proving JWM’s point ARC……. The kind of social controls youre proposing is some California stuff right there…. Animals=people….. No.

      • You can take an elderly and failing pet to the vet and have it put down. When you can do the same with great aunt Minnie we’ll talk about pets and humans being equals.

    • I’ve always loved my pets and treated them well, but I’ve never understood the “they’re part of the family” concept. Nor have I ever been able to wrap my mind around treating animals like a human being (celebrating bdays, allowing them to sit on furniture, allowing them to sleep the bed, taking them everywhere like children, etc.)

      • I am in favor of legal parity for privately owned dogs and police dogs, meaning police dogs should have no greater legal protection than a privately owned mutt. Cops will demand justice when a police dog is injured by a person fighting back against a dog trying to shred his leg, but many have no qualms about entering a home and shooting the owner’s dogs merely for barking or growling at them. This double standard is unjust.

    • Nope. Hit my dog with a wrench he’s getting hit in the face with a .45. Period. Besides, I swore I heard him say, “you’re next,” after hitting the dog.

      • If your 45 is a 1911 then it could be used in a legal fashion. Simply smash him the face with butt end and that will ruin his day. You don’t have that alternative with a plastic pistol.

      • If you are a person of the gun and you are serious about murdering people who harm your dog, then you probably shouldnt have a gun……

        Dogs are not people. Its called anthropomorphising…… Or, “crazy cat lady” syndrome.

        I love my Beagle. Her name is Maggie. Her breath smells like dog food and butt hole. She’ll probably die at the ripe old age of 15….. Because dogs arent people.

        Stop watching John Wick…. Its a hollywood movie.

        LET THE FLAMES BEGIN!!!!!

        • If someone comes into my yard unannounced and immediately begins attacking my dogs, then refuses to identify himself when asked I’m going to think that person is here to harm my family and me. There are many incidents where home invaders dressed as utility workers why take a chance? I worked for a utility for 13 years; if there were dogs in the yard I had to go in I wouldn’t go unless it were an emergency. Then I would notify my supervisor before entering the yard just to cover myself in case something happened. This man has violence issues and is dangerous.

        • Yeah, well, you’re from California. So your opinion doesn’t count. Like the rest of your liberal ilk, you think you can determine who can and cannot own a firearm. Go back to voting for Dianne Fienstine now.

      • I probably wouldn’t shoot him but you can bet he’d know exactly how that wrench felt to the head. It falls under property laws but I’d feel the same way if I came out and somebody was beating on my truck you give up your right to not have me kick your ass when you mess with my stuff.

    • It’s really not a good strategy to post on the internet what you would do in a situation like this. It never goes away and very well could be used against you. I have a six foot fence and it is posted. You would truly have to be a nut case to come in my yard. I do read of people entering dangerous animal enclosures at zoos from time to time so I suppose it could happen. News at six!

  2. That wrench, if turned on you, would constitute a threat of death or grievous harm. It is therefore a lethal weapon if used violently, like a bat or a crowbar would be. Draw and challenge. If the man holding the weapon who has just used it to violently attack your dogs (thus proving himself dangerous to any reasonable person) does anything other than comply with your commands, a shot would probably be justified.

    • In the scenario where a stranger has a wrench in hand, appears to be angry, and just lambasted your dogs with said wrench, you could probably justify being reasonably afraid enough to have a gun in hand as you challenge the stranger. (Thus having a “legal excuse” to shield you from a brandishing charge.) I do NOT think you would be legally justified to point a firearm at the stranger unless the stranger begins to advance toward you, with wrench in hand, after telling the stranger to stop.

      Again, I am NOT an attorney and my opinion above is NOT legal advise.

    • Hey Harry, try that defense out in court some time and post here from the prison library computers to tell us how it all worked out….

  3. It seems to me this would be an ideal use of drone technology.

    Have a drone fly into the back yard and take a picture of the meter while the meter reader is in the cab of their vehicle.

    (And if the 20 year-old daughter is sunbathing topless by the pool, *discreetly* snap a pic of that)

    What can I say? I’m a typical pig of a guy… 🙂

    • This seems eminently sensible to me. GPS technology can certainly record the exact time and location of the drone when the picture was taken. This assumes, however, that the location of the meter is such that the dogs could not reach the drone.

      My question, unanswered here, is exactly how desperate was the company to get the data on that meter that the meter reader refused to stay out of a dog-guarded yard and felt it necessary to beat his way to the meter without regard to his own or the dogs’ safety. It sure seems like a knock on the front door and a request to temporarily house the dogs would have been reasonable. How would the law have responded if he waded into that yard with a can of bear spray or a shotgun? Or even knocked down a portion of the man’s fence in his desperation to get that oh-so-important meter reading?

    • They are deploying ‘smart meters’ already that use some form of wifi and can be read from a vehicle driving by on the street. No drone necessary.

      • The ‘smart meters’ have a PR problem, it seems.

        The power company down here announced with great fanfair those new ‘smart meters’, and how wonderful they were, installation to start ‘real soon now!’

        It seems lots of folks want *nothing* to do with them. Techno-phobia perhaps, some folks claiming the faint RF field generated by them might cause cancer or some other dire malady, or that it would constitute some kind of government ‘spying’.

        They actually have a point on the alleged spying, the literature sent out by the manufacturer mentioned the ‘advantage’ the new meters were in tracking household energy use, and how that data would be on the web.

        ‘Energy use Shaming’ is an actual tactic the left uses, to say nothing about how the thieves would *love* to know the time of day your energy use was least, so that they could break in and steal your stuff.

        They got some visceral push-back, to the point the power company threw in the towel on them, making installation optional.

        It’s still required for new construction, however…

        • I’ve never encountered a power company that published the data to the public web, and frankly most of them are not friends of the left either. We do access to our usage data, which we use to identify any potential issues.

        • Here in PA, I get an email every month from Penelec. If iwas a good boy and used only as much energy as my efficient neighbors, I get a smiley face. To much energy, frowny face. I usually get the “meh” face though. It infuriated me the first time I opened the unsolicited email from my power company though.

        • It’s been a few years, Katy, but that’s the way I recall it.

          The local power company was genuinely baffled by the public’s flat rejection of their new whizz-bang technology, though. Editorials in the local paper were heavy on the ‘those stupid hicks just don’t know what’s good for them’ comments…

          Another commenter wrote:

          “To much energy, frowny face. I usually get the “meh” face though. It infuriated me the first time I opened the unsolicited email from my power company though.”

          Right there, an example of the ‘shaming’…

  4. Texas might very well be the only state in the United States where you can (apparently) legally use lethal force to protect property at night. I am nearly certain this is the exception, not the rule.

    Can you use your words and minimal force to stop someone from damaging your property? Sure. Can you use deadly force to stop someone from damaging your property? I do NOT advise that.

    The safest bet: do NOT use lethal force unless a reasonable person in your shoes would agree that your life was in imminent danger of death or grievous bodily harm. A person attacking your dogs does not meet that requirement.

    Note: I am NOT an attorney and the above is NOT legal advise. Seek legal council in your jurisdiction to definitively explain your legal rights to protect your property and your life.

  5. One of the benefits of owning a dog is the added security they provide. Anyone that enters your property without your knowledge and harms your dogs does not have your best interests at heart.

    Act accordingly.

    • We had our meters installed outside our fence line. We keep our gates a locked. Our pooch doesn’t bother anyone and no one bothers our pooch.

      This is a very emotional issue, true. I question the sanity of any individual who wantonly attacks a pet in this manner. I would worry I might be next.

  6. OMFG! What the hell is wrong with that guy? Surely there should be some comeback from the company for employing someone so vicious/clueless?

  7. I just watched the video: the man could very well be justified in swinging a wrench at the dogs. The video shows the first dog rushing the man who swings at the first dog … which withdraws after a good whack. Then the second dog rushes in and the man swings at (and misses) that dog which then withdraws. Whether or not the dogs rushed the man to greet him or attack him is anyone’s guess.

    Keep in mind that the man likely had all of 1/4 of a second to interpret the dogs’ actions and act himself … and the man had no idea what sort of disposition those dogs have.

    This seems like a lose-lose situation. It just isn’t practical for utility companies to coordinate every single action with homeowners. (State law recognizes this which is why utility workers can work unannounced without being subject to trespass.) At the same time, homeowners should feel free to have dogs roaming their fenced yard without any concern for strangers entering upon their property. Combine those two ideals and something has to give. Either homeowners have to exclude utility meters when they fence in their yard, or they have to train their dogs to stay away from strangers, or they have to pay a huge premium on their utilities to coordinate maintenance visits, or they have to expect that a utility worker may whack their dogs once in a great while.

    • Sounds like a uncommonly sensible approach 🙂

      Rather than having their employees risking getting attacked, it would make sense for utility companies to itemize the costs of meter readings. If the meter is unreadable due to dogs and/or pet alligators, tack the cost of the visit $50 or whatever, on to the electricity bill. Then just turn off power after the third attempt or something.

      I’m sure the grievance and ambulance chaser industries are barring this, citing “discrimination against pet owners” or some such, but that is what life in Dystopia is all about….

  8. As a currently inactive lawyer, a thought occurred to me: If you can use force, and the bad guy responds your force by employing force or threats of his own, couldn’t you legitimately say at that point that you were reasonably in fear of your safety and go on to employ deadly force? I mean, if you are _legally_ employing force against someone, that person does not have a self-defense right against that legally-applied force, no? So you should not be vulnerable to a “provocation” charge if, because of the bad guy’s use of force or threats, things “escalate” to deadly force, no?

    • Guess I better add the disclaimer, too–since I am inactive, and have been for awhile, I am NOT advising–truthfully, I wouldn’t care to be the “test case” myself.

      • Good question, Another Robert, as it implicates state laws that are all over the place.

        FWIW, my analysis would be along the lines of the following. If under state law I can use reasonable (non-lethal) force to defend property, and the attacker escalates, I should be allowed to meet the escalation and perhaps escalate a bit more. It’s sometimes called “+1,” which means that it would be reasonable for the defender to apply a bit more force since he is, after all, the defender. And if I defended with reasonable force and the attacker raised the threat level to the point where I would be in reasonable fear of my life, I should be able to use lethal force.

        And why not? In this hypothetical, I did not initiate the conflict, I proceeded reasonably and applied deadly force as a last resort against my own death or dismemberment. I believe that this would be a reasonable continuum of force. Unfortunately, the process would probably take seconds, if that.

        State laws, especially judge-made laws, will reveal the true answers to your question. I suggest that the answer might be different in New York City than it would be in Texas.

        • Martin v Zimmerman.

          George Zimmerman was not posing a threat to Treyvon Martin. Martin initiated a physical attack against GZ. GZ defended himself to the best of his ability with non-lethal force. Martin got the upper hand, forced GZ to the ground, and escalated his force level to potentially “grievous bodily harm or death” level. GZ shot him, one time, ending the threat.

          Meter reader entered the property unannounced and encountered dogs. Meter reader attacked dogs rather than retreating back out of the yard. If the property owner had used non-lethal force to stop the meter reader, even brandishing a weapon. he apparently would have been within his legal rights. If meter reader than turns his attack to the property owner rather than retreating, especially with the presence of the rather large wrench, IMO property owner would be in a legal position to shoot at him to stop the threat. Hypothetically.

  9. All hail Hillary,Supreme Overlord. And it is written, The Hillary exhaled forth It’s mighty breath and cuaseth the utilitys man to become at peace with dogs of many owners.

  10. Why in the world would anyone leave a gate unlocked? Why would valued dogs (or children or anything else) be left with an unlocked entrance? The intruder could just as easily have been a violent criminal, or a nut of some sort bent on vandalism… so many other things. So often I read about a home invasion where the victims were not only unprepared to defend themselves… they didn’t even bother to lock the doors.

    If you have a utility meter that must be read by someone entering your yard, would it not be wise to make sure that person can NOT enter the yard unaccompanied or without other arrangements made to secure the valued property? Why would a person enter a yard with dogs in it, without making arrangements with the owners first? Even if they knew the dogs were not aggressive.

    This whole scene is simply a matter of negligence on the part of the dog owners, and the utility employee. Just stupid to argue about the “law” when prevention of problems is so easy.

  11. It seems funny how a cops dog is considered a “police officer”. If you shoot a dog they send in your home, your charged with killing a cop. If they kill your dog chasing some dirt bag through your fenced in back yard, good luck getting that compensated.

  12. ” Also note that there is no legal requirement that he has to announce his presence before checking the meter,”

    What the actual fuck.

    “Don’t mind me, I’m just checking to see if there’s a meter in your bathroom while you shower, ma’am.”

    • Legal requirement or not, how long has he been doing this job that he has never encountered dogs loose in someone’s yard before? It would seem the minimum of professional competence that he should peek over the fence before swinging the gate open.

  13. Turn off video recorder. Have contractor trip on something, hit head on side of pool, drown in pool.
    Take dog to the vet…

  14. I used to make home service calls and have been bitten by dogs while working. Dog owners are some of the most retarded people alive. They will let their dog harass you the entire time you are there. Why don’t they lock the damn dog up while unfamiliar, yet invited, people are on the property? Would it hurt Fido’s feelings? If you watch the video, it states that the female homeowner offered to lock the dogs up when the meter maid came on the property. This is certainly a fabricated story as only 5% of dog owners are actually considerate people. Most let them roam without a leash, shit in your yard, bark all night long, and harass/bite strangers. I have only been bitten by smaller breeds and nothing more than an aggressive stance was needed to get them to back off. But when walking the yard where there were larger breeds, I would have my knife in one hand and a wrench in the other. Just like this guy. Dogs are dangerous animals and are unpredictable. Animals with no prior aggressive behavior can become aggressive at any time. My brother was bitten on the head when he was two years old by my grandparent’s lab and had to receive hundreds of stitches. The dog was just as friendly as any other black lab prior to the incident. The fact that this post seems to question whether or not it is appropriate to draw your firearm on a contractor who swung at two 100 pound dogs that just rushed him aggressively, is proof of how irrational and inconsiderate most dog owners are.

    • This is a great argument, to me, against home carry. If I looked out my back door and saw that happening to my dog, I suspect the guy would be dead before I even had time to think. If I had to go to the next room to retrieve a gun, there’s at least a chance I would head directly for the asshole screaming for him to leave my dog alone, and never come back, or some such nonlethal response. My head knows you can’t kill a man to save the life of a dog, but the connection between that knowledge and my trigger finger is tenuous at best.

      • Your post is a good argument against you carrying at all. Dog owners are creepy people. Hey Dan Zimmerman, how about a new Self Defense Tip of the Day: If forced to defend yourself against an aggressive dog, beware the psychopath dog owner.

    • My property, my rules. Don’t like it? Find a different job where trespassing isn’t a daily activity. I don’t care who you work for. You announce your presence or suffer the consequences.

      • LOL, that isn’t how it works. Utility employees have the ability to come onto your property as part of their jobs. Don’t like it? Feel free to make your own electricity, manage your own sewage and pump your own water.

        As for your pathetic threat of “consequences”, you might want to check the law. “Trespassing” is a legal term, and the law excepts utility employees from it when it is necessary for them to do their job. Go ahead and take a shot at a utility employee–I’d be happy to be on the jury that sends a FLAME DELETED like you to the needle.

        • FLAME DELETED Second of all, no, that’s not true. Maybe where you live. But where I live, doesn’t matter who it is, has to at least announce there presence. Maybe you aught to learn a thing or two about private property before you go spouting off like FLAME DELETED.

        • Tell me where you live, “Dr.” I’d be happy to point out your ignorance by citing the law.

          Your point about employees announcing themselves is irrelevant. We’re not discussing whether the law requires employees to announce themselves; but rather whether you’re justified in attacking them for “trespassing” because it’s “muh land”.

          By the way, even if employees are required to announce themselves, that doesn’t automatically justify you doing what you want. If you kill a utility employee who is doing their job, the police aren’t going to ask you whether he identified himself, they’re just going to arrest you and you will be charged with murder.

          Like I said, if you don’t like it feel free to generate your own electricity and maintain your own sewer (although I suspect you don’t have indoor plumbing.) Ha!

        • Another issue that would very easily resolve itself were it not for idiotic special regulations of utility companies. If a utility company and a homeowner couldn’t find common ground, the homeowner could start his own utility company. And if the utility company behaved unreasonably enough to enough people, that’s what those people would get together and do.

          Of course, tat would prevent legions of parasites from parading around pretending babbling about regulations is somehow helping anyone, as opposed to simply leeching.

        • The fact that you support the legality of some public sector goon to be on another person’s private property for any reason whatsoever says a lot about you, Mitch. I yearn for the day when the vast majority of government jobs and the laziness, corruption, and socialist groupthink they encourage are swiftly axed, then people like you can go find a relevant line of work in a rejuvenated American private sector or starve to death trying.

        • Where I live? Clearly your a phycopath Mitch the bitch, if an Internet argument sets you off that’s much. Clearly you’ve chosen a job in which you think you can exactl your will on others, like a good statist. Well that don’t fly down here. Here’s a hint: idiots like yourself who think they have special privledges on private property just because they where a special uniform, easily end up as gator bait.

  15. Golly it was reported the gas guy was turning off the gas for non-payment. Sorry-everybody doesn’t know if your dog is vicious. I’m echoing uncommon sense here. I am no lawyer either. You may think your dog is human-it ain’t…

    • If the turn-off report is correct it would explain his intent on getting the job done, it does not explain his willingness to wade into a yard full of dogs and fight his way to the meter. If the property owner had intentionally left the dogs in the yard to prevent him from shutting off the gas then a call to local law enforcement would seen appropriate.

      • According to the story I saw, the homeowner said that a automatic payment bank routing number got messed up, so the utility company thought they weren’t paying the bill, and the homeowner did not know the gas company wasn’t getting paid. So in other words, he didn’t leave the dogs out just to defend the meter.

  16. I have this much to say against the dogs/owners: When the first dog puts on the brakes and slides into the utility worker, it’s obvious that the dog was coming at him quickly with intent to jump on him (could be friendly or unfriendly, but I’m leaning towards unfriendly jumping).

    OTOH, when threatened by a dog, I back away from it. This chap steps towards the ‘threat’.

    I’m not buying the family’s story about their Weimaraners. You don’t offer to bring the dogs in, you just open the door and call them in. There’s no point in having them underfoot while the guy’s trying to work.

  17. I work as a Firefghter , on calls such as ems we ask that dogs be put in another room and the door closed. I’ve actually had to,argue with people who refused as a family member was laying unconscious on the floor .

    Also friendly or family dog seem to be code for will charge at any random moment .

  18. Yikes. I’m one of the people who’s job often entails visiting people’s yards, sometimes when they don’t expect it. (Utility locating) First, ALWAYS knock and announce yourself! If there’s no answer, and if there’s no dog in the back yard, I help myself.

    But if there’s a dog back there, no matter how big or small, I do NOT enter the backyard. It’s his space, and it’s no skin off of my back if I can’t complete the job at that time.

    This guy is an IDIOT. The home owners were there. Ask them to keep their animals inside while you work. It’s as simple as that.

    On the off chance that a meeting with a dog goes sideways, we carry dog mace. Past that, I have a 3 foot ground rod and a tactical pen that I carry if things get truly bad.

    But seriously, the people were home! Ask that the dogs be kept inside!

  19. ” I thought you said your dog doesn’t bite ?”
    ” that’s not my dog ……”

    Also that’s not a pipe wrench folks. It’s a 12 inch slip joint pliers , sure I don’t want to,get hit with that , but I’d much prefer it to even a non sparking pipe wrench gas guys use .

  20. This scenario was covered in my cc class and I think the instructor nailed it. It was something to the tune of, you can yell at the guy and try get him to leave and you can’t act with deadly force unless he turns his weapon on you. Now if he won’t leave and he turns his weapon on you then there you go you were threatened with death or serious bodily harm. The best course of action is probably open carry because yes that’s legal and yell at him to stop. Open carry is not brandishing and does a very good job of deescalating the situation. You’d be stupid or high to turn a wrench on someone in their yard if they are openly carrying a firearm.

  21. Many years ago, I had two big German Shepherd Dogs. One was an older dog and protection-trained (I was a professional dog trainer at the time, and the dog was a multiple award winner), while the other was a youngster who was just learning the ropes.

    I had filed a complaint against my neighbor for spreading poison on his property. He didn’t do it to target my dogs but to kill stray animals. I filed a complaint with the police because that was illegal. Two cops, one a grizzled veteran and the other a youngster — like my dogs — came a-visiting so I put both dogs behind a heavy gate.

    When my trained dog spotted the cops’ guns and nightsticks, he broke down the gate, which I didn’t think anything could do, and charged the cops.

    I immediately called the dog off, put him back in his place and commanded him to stay, which he did. But before I could do that, the young cop had practically crapped his blue pants as his backed himself into a corner with his hands behind his back while the veteran just stood still and laughed at his young buddy.

    Nobody got shot. Nobody got hurt. And I had a nice conversation with the cops who complimented my dog on being a great and obedient protector.

    Times have changed. Man, I miss those old-timey cops. And my dogs.

  22. I know I would be speaking from only an initially emotional response when I say that
    if someone came on my property and just shot my dog (my dog is a cripple),
    I am going to assume they are coming on my property to shoot me.
    Then end result for them is that they would be dead before they got ten feet.

    Some dogs are big and some dogs are scary.
    But some dogs are just scared when they see an intruder on their property.
    This is a complex issue compounded by the fact that there are so many breeds of dogs.
    Not only at issue is what would a dog owner do if their dog was attacked and or killed on their own
    property, but
    what would you do or are allowed to do if a dog attacked you on the street?
    The law in my state is pretty clear.
    I can shoot them if they got out and attacked me.

    I would rather not hurt it as I would much rather make friends with it.
    I ride my bike in a neighborhood that has a lot of big scary dogs that are fenced in,
    but there is always the possibility that one of those dogs could get out and want to have me
    for lunch.
    That’s why I decided to always carry some dog cookies.
    I would rather make friends with dogs as dogs make better friends than some people I know.

    • “The more I get to know people, the more I like dogs.”

      I used to think that line was a joke, but now I’m starting to agree.

  23. “….deadly force to protect property against criminal mischief, but only at night….”

    Is there evidence that the criminal class utilizes this difference in legal rights of a property owner under differing light conditions as a method to “game the system”?

    They are a clever bunch; I’d suppose they’d quote the law at you if you showed up with a firearm in the daylight to protect your garden gnomes from mischief.

  24. The intelligent thing for a contractor to do would be to announce his presence to the homeowners. We have cleaning and construction people who’ve helped us with various projects, as well as people who’ve conducted service on our solar panels. Our dogs bark and protect our yard.

    So we let all of our contractors and workers know that we need to secure and / or introduce our workers to our dogs.

    Everyone is getting pretty emotional, but there are still a lot on unanswered questions. Did the homeowners warm the contractor, was the contractor expected, etc. Was the “beware of dogs” sign on the fence before or after the attack, etc.

    Glad those Weimaraners are going to be ok.

  25. Not a contractor-he was reportedly turning off utilities for non-payment. They ALWAYS tell you they’re shutting off the gas. And I’m guessing he felt the owners set the dogs on him.

  26. So if you go punch the guy to stop the attack on your dog that’s legal…what if he then gains the upper hand and starts pummeling you with the wrench? Could you legally shoot him or were you the aggressor in the eyes of the law?

  27. These is why I love people, you guys are a bunch of hypocrites.

    *PETA or some other animal rights group lusting for the blood of a hunter with malicious tweets – Crazy Leftist

    *Hit my dog with a wrench and I’ll shoot you in TTAG’s forum = “Rational” Gun/Dog Owner

    Who needs gun control propaganda when all these hypocrites prove to be the best propaganda of all?

    P.S. – “I have a pet cockroach that’s like family to me. If someone tries to step on it or use bug spray as a malicious tool against it, I’ll shoot the facker’s head off.” This is how stupid all you pet owners sound when you personify your pets.

    • Neither wild animals nor domesticated food animals are people’s pets. There are some cultures where people eat dog and horse. Slaughter for food is legal. That includes hunting. Whether the process is humane depends on the quality of law enforcement.

      Wanton mistreatment of animals is illegal most places. That doesn’t protect an animal who poses a threat. If I am walking down the street and a large dog in someone’s yard barks at me, I am forbidden from harming it. If it leaves its owner’s property and comes at me, with its hackles up and snarling, I am allowed to regard its behavior as an imminent threat to my life and to do what I must to protect myself. Your pet cockroach is protected as long as you keep it at home. If it intrudes into my home, I’m free to hire an exterminator or do the job myself.

  28. I believe that any piece of $h!t who attacks a dog on its property is going to attack the owner next. The owner should be in fear for his life because this wack job is dangerous.

  29. Sort of… if you show your gun and ask them to leave (and presumably you have already called the cops), and they refuse to leave or do anything other than immediately return from whence they came, they are no longer committing criminal mischief, they are now trespassing and fall under an entirely different set of laws.

  30. There are a number of details in the attached story that aren’t discussed in the article.

    The contract employee spoke with the wife. He explained his task. The wife offered to put the dogs up. The employee declined. There, is the proximate cause of the event. He did not follow company policy. He was informed of the dog, he chose to continue.

    A question, where was the meter? The overwhelming majority of the meters are on the side of the house and can be seen from the street. From the photo, there’s a pool. Isn’t this the backyard? Pools are fenced, and you can see the fence in the background. While he had permission to enter the property, at what point would he be trespassing? As example, if he’s in the master bedroom, that’s not reading the meter. If the meter is not in the backyard, he’s trespassing.

    • “The wife offered to put the dogs up. The employee declined.”

      Maybe. Maybe not. We have her word on that, but no way to judge if she’s telling the truth.

  31. Said it before, i’ll say it again. ‘Defense of property’ needs to be included with self defense language.

  32. If I observe someone trying to hurt my animals, their body will never be found, so the entire question is moot in my case. I have “Forget the Dog – Beware of Owner” signs clearly posted.

    That is all.

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