Question of the Day: Could You Shoot an Attacking Dog?

BRIGHT IDEAS on surviving a dog attack (courtesy youtube.com)

In the video below BRIGHT IDEAS instructs us How to Survive a Dog Attack. Be confident. Don’t run. Stand still. (“If you stop moving, chances are the dog will lose interest in you and walk away.”) Don’t make eye contact. Make fists (so the dog doesn’t bite your fingers off). Distract the dog by throwing something. Command the dog to back away. “What if you couldn’t avoid the attack?” the narrator asks. “What can you do to get as little damage as possible?” I’m thinking . . .

shoot the dog.

Could I shoot a dog? Sure, if it was seriously attacking me or mine or some other innocent. In front of its owner? Sigh. Yup. Which would actually create another threat. But hey, I didn’t ask the animal to rip my throat out now did I?

Could you, would you shoot an attacking dog? What if it was attacking your dog, not a human? As much as I love my snack-sized schnauzers, I don’t think I could go there. Could you?

Don’t get me wrong: this is something I don’t want to do. Something that could go horribly wrong.  Which is why I sought out BRIGHT IDEAS’ bright ideas about unarmed dog defense. Which are . . .

Hit the dog in the nose, throat of back of the head. (There I was thinking that kicking the dog was the safer option, given the proximity of sharp teeth to the dog’s head.) Yell for help. Protect your face and neck. Press the dog against the ground. And that’s it — other than medical advice and reporting the “accident.”

While we’re at it, any more useful advice for dealing with an attacking canine without resorting to ballistic perforation?

comments

  1. avatar FedUp says:

    Attacking me or mine means actually biting me or mine. Once that happens, dead dog.

    I don’t have to sit by and watch your Boxer eat my kid’s terrier, if it leaves your property to threaten us, I’ll pick up the terrier. If it attempts to bite, I’m shooting. I’ve never had to take that last step, and hope I don’t have to, I like what’s left of my hearing too much to throw it away on an unnecessary puppycide.

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      I should add, once or twice a year for the last 30 years I’ve been in a situation where a fraidycop would have felt threatened enough to open fire (situations where I felt sufficiently threatened to yell at the dog and refuse to turn my back on it, or turn around to keep facing it as it circled me). None of those situations resulted in injury. The next one might result in injury, but given my history, I’d say it probably won’t.

      Would I be legally justified to shoot a dog that comes onto my property, or approaches me in the road, and exhibits threatening behavior? Yes, I think so. Would I be legally justified if I entered somebody else’s property and their dog threatened me? Nope. But, either way, it goes back to ‘I don’t shoot at potential threats, I only shoot proven threats’.

    2. avatar JasonM says:

      If a dog bites a human it’s likely dead anyway, either because the local laws say that dogs that attack humans get euthanized, or because they need to test it for rabies, which requires a lethal brain tissue sample.

      1. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

        That’s true, but not necessary in all cases. In almost all states, a dog biting a human or another domestic animal just gets quarantined for ten days after the bite.

        The quarantine is set at 10 days because a rabies-infected animal can only transmit the disease after clinical signs have developed AND once these signs have developed, the animal will die within 10 days.

        In the meantime, the bite victim will receive a rabies vaccination, unless the owner can produce proof of the dog’s current vaccination.

        If the law requires the quarantine take place at certain facilities, which aren’t available, then the dig may be euthanized and tested as you said.

    3. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      Having grown up with high-strung hunting dogs, I definitely wouldn’t make myself smaller by bending down to pick up the Terrier unless the incoming threat was a GOOD, long way away. You probably know all that but the comment caught my eye.

    4. avatar Madcapp says:

      There’s a lot of dogs that need to be shot…not just attacking ones. We’ll start with my neighbors obnoxious pair, and proceed forward from there.

      1. avatar Ed says:

        Its the neighbors that need to be shot…the dogs are just being dogs. It’s the owners who are the lazy fucks that allow their dogs to annoy you to the point of wanting to off the dogs.

        1. avatar PATRON49IFT says:

          Correct! No bad dogs, only bad, lazy owners.

    5. avatar Hank says:

      I have a lot of experience with dogs, and there’s a lot of different things you can do hand to hand wise to stop an attacking dog. Humans are actually the superior species when it comes to man handling. Dogs have the upper hand in raw bite and tear strength. It’s all about knowing yourself and your opponent. I’ve wrestled nearly every breed of dog, hog, and gator. I enjoy it. Breed and dog size also factor into this equation. The biggest factor of all though is rabies. If it looks like it has rabies, shoot first ask questions later.

  2. avatar Ed Rogers says:

    My dog is usually in very close proximity to me. An attack on my dog will be a threat to my safety too.

    That said, physical location limitations could come into play. Backdrop, other people, my limited experience actually discharging in defense, etc.

    We have a case locally. A man had his dog, off-leash, playing ball. Two other people showed up with leashed pitbulls.

    They got into it, the man shot one of the pitbulls. The last I heard, they were all cited for having dogs in a dog-free park.

    https://www.ksl.com/?sid=45746881&nid=148&title=man-shoots-pit-bull-who-was-attacking-his-dog-logan-police-say

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      I’d be interested in knowing how long the ‘leashes’ were, but if the Pitbull owner kept his dogs leashed and they weren’t dragging him, then the attack is proof the CCer didn’t have sufficient control over his dog to have any business letting it off lead. (if your dog will ignore you and approach strange dogs without your permission, you need to keep your dog on lead)

      1. avatar Ed Rogers says:

        I can’t say how long the leashes on the pitbulls we’re. The owners couldn’t restrain them, however. The CCer most certainly shouldn’t have had his dog off-leash. None of them were supposed to have dogs at that park.

        The CCer claims he feared for his safety, which seems reasonable.

        I thought the situation was resolved with the citations but it may not be. The case was referred to the county prosecutor…

  3. avatar Billy says:

    The only time I drew in anger was due to two dogs out on their own.

  4. avatar Shire-man says:

    Not unless I have to. If the dog is physically attacking myself or my dogs then, yeah, it’s time to go to sleep.
    I really don’t want to. There are a bunch of white trash inbreds around my area who let their dogs run wild. I’d sooner shoot one of them then their dog.

    1. avatar Ed Rogers says:

      We’ll put, Shire-man!

    2. avatar Swobard says:

      Agreed! Heartily agreed!

  5. avatar Timothy says:

    That probably depends on the dog. I’d try to insert myself between the dog and my family. I also don’t consider very many dogs an actual threat to my life. I watched an aggressive German Sheppard run at my dad, who hit the dog on the nose. After he said to me that if a dog knocks you down and gets on you, grab its front paws and yank outward. There is not a dog alive that will keep fighting.

    Not that I wouldn’t shoot a dog if I thought it’d kill me or mine otherwise. I just spend a lot of time around dogs and haven’t ever even wondered if it’d be necessary

    1. avatar Hank says:

      This is a good point. When attacked by the front by a dog there’s a few things you can do, grab and pull its front paws as you said, also grab its jaw then bash it on top of the head. To get an attacking dog off someone else, come up behind the dog and grab it’s hind legs and lift up, so that it’s forced to stand on its front legs or fall down. Even if you have a gun this can be useful information because you may not have a clean shot when defending someone else, and when defending yourself, a dog can clear ground much faster than a human.

  6. avatar Erik says:

    I’m big and dogs react very well to me, I’ve pinned dogs by the neck to stop them from attacking my dog, but it would be hard for me to find a scenario where with a single dog I’d even pull a gun.

    Attacking my dog? He’s way to quick for me to feel comfortable taking a pistol shot at a dog entangled with him. Know your target and what’s behind it and for me the risk of hitting my dog is way to high…

  7. avatar Arc says:

    Murdering peoples pets is bad for the health, justified or not.

    1. avatar LeRoy T says:

      Murder, the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.

      1. avatar t3hbar0n says:

        Never let silly things like the meaning of words get in the way of hyperbole!

        1. avatar Arc says:

          Oh, how cute! Two more of the ‘me so holier than thou’ tribe that would rather play semantics and debate class, deflecting rather than addressing the concept presented to them. Murder, shooting, killing, culling, butchering, straight talking Americans don’t give a flying squirt of piss what word is used, so long as it gets the point across. You sound like leftists, petty squabbling over the precise meaning of each individual word, T, I, and comma.

          But, by all means, continue on… Continue on. Lets be a society that uses animals solely for owner gain and treat them like disposable property. Its nothing to leave them in the ditch when a hog tears them up, or throw throw them in the fighting arenas for some good ole blood sport and when they are all used up and no longer line your pocket, cull them.

          Yes, continue being apart of the ever so many problems from silver lined snake speak to lending support to puppycide, after all, “Dogs are people too” is a load of horseshit and shooting someones disposable property is perfectly justifiable! After all, the dog is only worth a monetary sum and you can throw money at the owners later. They can go get a new dog, after all, its just a stupid dog, you can buy a new one right off the shelf and it will perform just as well as the old dog! You can invest another 10+ years of love, emotions, and training into them, explain to the kids why their furball was just an old piece of property and its been replaced.

          Yeah, I stand by my choice of words.

          Murdering pets is bad for health.
          Murdering pets is bad for cops.
          Murdering pets is bad for neighbors.
          Murdering pets is bad for legal expenses.
          Murdering pets is bad for sleep.
          Murdering pets is bad for America.
          Murdering pets is bad for GUN POLITICS! — It perpetuates the old, hairy, trigger happy redneck that screams “ITS MAH PROPERTAY! I DO WHAT I WANT!” while shooting at anything that moves, stereotype, painting all gun owners in a real shitty light.

          Not everyone shares your POV and shooting pets alienates potential supporters of 2A rights more than it does to recruit them.

          But hey, lets all just ignore the bigger picture and bitch about the meaning of a word from someone who values other peoples animals, even if they cause a medical bill. Yeah, that sure is helpful.

        2. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

          The comment above mine expresses many FEELZ that are IMPORTANT. I can almost hear the little foot being stamped after every sentence.

        3. avatar Dev says:

          I think Arc needs a little time out and a nap, he’s a bit high strung. You’re the only one who mentioned murder; everyone else is discussing this SELF-DEFENSE article.

        4. avatar AndrewinVA says:

          Wow

        5. avatar doesky2 says:

          People who put animals on the level of people have a broken moral compass.
          You can only kill animals, not murder them.

    2. avatar Leighton Cavendish says:

      The article is about ATTACKING dogs…not simply killing for killings sake.
      If your REAL child is attacking me or my family I may shoot and/or kill them (depending on the circumstances, of course)…so there is no question about it.
      Again…totality of the circumstances…

      1. avatar Lucas D. says:

        +1

        I’m sure you might love your kids, cousins and grandparents, too, but if they tried to rip my throat out I would to use deadly force to make them stop. That a dog doesn’t know any better would not make my throat any less ripped out, so yeah; it’d also get a bullet.

    3. avatar Connie says:

      A-boo, a-hoo.

      Boo hoo.

  8. avatar Timaeo Theos says:

    Never had a problem with a dog, had a few problems with their owners, which were soon sorted.

  9. avatar Johnny B says:

    I’ve come close a couple times when I was living in the south suburbs of Chicago. Fortunately, both times were abated with me standing my ground in an almost gunslinger stance, hand on gun but not drawn. Not sure if the dogs just lost interest or could sense that I was about to end them and backed away. Could I? Would I? Without hesitation, yes.

  10. avatar MamaLiberty says:

    Here in Wyoming, the law is very clear that dogs not on their property may be shot if threatening anything or anyone. I’ve had to shoot seven dogs at different times, and would not hesitate to shoot any others that threatened my livestock or people. I nearly shot two dogs that were chasing the horses across the road, but the owner managed to get them under control in time. I was glad for him, but he understood clearly that they might be killed if he let them out again. They have not been back.

    1. avatar TheOriginal JohnO says:

      Ditto from Nebraska. I shot many a stray dog on the old family farm. It’s just another job that needs doing.

      1. avatar TrappedInCommiefornia says:

        Same here as well. I’ve developed my own protocol for dealing with strays. First I figure out if they’re friendly. If they are, my wife and I will try to find them a new home or take them to a shelter (we’ve done this for over 50 dogs and puppies in the last 10 years.) If they aren’t friendly I yell at them so they know they’re not welcome. If they come back I fire a shotgun over their heads. If that doesn’t get the message across then they meet my .204. I’ve only had to shoot a few, and it sucks, but I can’t take chances with my kids and livestock.

        1. avatar TheOriginal JohnO says:

          Once Dad made the mistake of “adopting” a stray that looked pretty much like a German Shepherd, which he had a weakness for. This was in the heat of summer. He soon found out the mutt had been “guarding” the water tank in a pen of fat cattle nearly ready for market. Three head died. Zero-tolerance policy adopted after that. At about a grand a head, that was $3,000 off the top of any profit that pen would have made.

    2. avatar RM says:

      I guess not many people on here live in the country or have any type of livestock. Anybody that does has probably shot more dogs than they can count.

      I’m not a farmer or rancher but have a bit of property and every time I’ve ever tried to have ducks/geese/chickens the stray dogs come out of the woodwork to kill whatever I have. Stray dogs are far worse than coyotes. I have coyotes that trot through my yard in the middle of the day and give me no trouble.

      Only once have I had to shoot a dog in self-defence. About a 200lb great dane than was not afraid of people. It would come onto my property and bark at me and try to stand its ground. One morning I was taking the trash out and knew that it was usually around in the mornings so I slung my AR15 for the trip.

      There it was in my driveway with another dog. I shouted and chased the other dog off, it was smart enough not to be a problem. The great dane just stood its ground barking at me. If I moved back onto my property it would stay the same distance, about 50ft. It held me at bay for about 20min on my property before I decided to take action.

      I put one round square on its chest and it started to charge me. I quickly shot 4-5 more times and it hit the ground about 20ft from me.

      A 200lb aggressive dog charging you while taking 5.56 to the chest will sure get your adrenaline pumping.

      Turns out it was a new neighbours dog from about 1/4 mile away. They moved to the country on 5acres and just let their giant aggressive dog run loose. They came to look for it when they heard the shots and called the Sheriff on me.

      The deputy just said the guy should have had his dog under control, that’s not what they wanted to hear though.

      Of course, they got another great dane a month later and let it run loose too. Least this one isn’t aggressive. The first time it came around I fired a few shots over its head and it hit the barb wire fence at full speed. Didn’t see it for a while. The next time I saw it, I threw a can of soup and hit it in the head. Haven’t seen it on my property since.

  11. avatar strych9 says:

    Dogs around here tend to be very friendly so I hope never to have the occasion to have trouble with one.

    That said… Trouble sometimes comes looking for you. Taking a firm stance against the dog will significantly deter attacks in most cases. Don’t just stand there. That’s dumb as shit. Be the Alpha. Shoulders back, calm, assertive with your voice raised but not panicky. Do not request anything of the dog, TELL the dog what to do. Make eye contact and make it clear that you are in charge. I also find that with aggressive dogs a hard foot stomp while saying “NO!” is usually effective, especially if you lean forward a smidgen while doing it. This tells the dog that you’re not afraid to come forward and defend your space. Usually that gets the point across.

    Generally the worst situations, IME, happen while walking your own dog. Other dogs see your dog, want it out of their territory and try to make a point. Usually there are no serious injuries but you gotta know your dog. My oldest plays no games. Another dog comes out at him like that and he’s ready to go to war and he can handle himself. Woe to the other dog.

    Now, in that situation you’re going to have to break this up quick. Use a foot covered IN A BOOT. Do NOT try to grab a collar or something. Don’t stick a hand or a flip-flop foot in there. You will very likely get bitten it you do and whatever gets bit will probably get an infection and swell up, requiring antibiotics (ask me how I know this). Aim for the center of the fight with a kick, not a super hard one, but a kick. You want to catch a dog in or near the face but you don’t want to blast the dog with your boot. Just enough to refocus their attention. During what I call the “moment of refocusing” you can usually get a handle on your dog and now you can make an exit. If the other dog then presses it’s attack for some reason, let go and reassess. You may have to kick the other dog pretty hard if it’s stubborn but usually you can get them to go away.

    A gun in a situation like this is risky in a lot of ways and should absolutely be a last resort. Pulling a burner on a dog is exactly how my dad ended up on the wrong end of a grand jury deciding if he should be charged with Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon when he was on his own property. Why? Because owners sometimes LIE. Their dog would *never* do that and *the crazy guy pulled a gun*.

    Really there is no perfect answer. Nothing is guaranteed to work and you’re not guaranteed to hit the dog if you open up on it. Ya pays ya money and takes ya chances. Knowing breeds and how they operate helps a lot though. Dealing with a GSD is different than a Pincher which is different from a Poodle which is different from a Plott. Groups of dogs are a different kettle of fish as well.

    Be wary of dogs you don’t know but always project confidence around them. Doing that right defuses 95% of situations before they happen.

    1. avatar FedUp says:

      “A gun in a situation like this is risky in a lot of ways and should absolutely be a last resort.”

      Good point.
      The most reliable way to make the TV news for shooting at a dog is to miss the dog and kill a human instead. LEOs seem to manage this feat a couple of times a year, which isn’t very often, but still too often.

  12. avatar Blake says:

    I’m gonna be the odd man out and say I’d have absolutely no problem killing an aggressive dog. Don’t have a dog, but I keep small livestock. Threaten me, or my property and the dogs dead, no questions. Actually keep a 20ga SxS loaded and handy for such a thing, cats as well (chickens and what not). Hawk, owl, raccoon, etc, same reaction.

    There’s gonna be someone that gives the “my dog is family” line. Fine, but it’s still a dog. If it runs around the area being an a-hole, it deserves what it gets.

    Had a friends dog snap on me once. Ran up all happy, was petting her, then totally out of the blue it flips a 180 and tries to bite me (not playfully) and this dog was very familiar with me. So, almost instinctively I draw and pop it. Friend later tells me it had been acting funny and doing that lately. Apparently I saved him the problem of putting it down.

    1. avatar hunttmaster says:

      Could have been a tooth infection, ear infection, abscess, dermoid. I wasn’t there but I’d have given a friend the chance to make that determination.

      1. avatar Blake says:

        Yeah, it could have been. Dog had just not too long before had a litter that was weaned and no longer around, just figured something about it changed after the puppies. Either way, as it turned out I was far from the first to have a very similar experience with that dog, him and his family included, and I don’t regret my actions at all. Dog made its choice, I made mine.

        Ultimately I don’t feel it’s worth the risk to my personal safety and well being. Let’s say I don’t shoot and the dog mangles my hand or worse. Now my life is forever altered, hard to do my job with messed up hands

  13. avatar st381183 says:

    Two children and an elderly woman were mauled to death in the course of a year and a half in my area by animals the family owned, pit bulls to be exact. Yes I would shoot a dog, I would shoot the neighbors dog if it were attacking or aggressively threatening to attack a human being. There is no equivocation between an animal and a person. That is a fundamental problem with society, we look down our noses at gang bangers that don’t value human lives and promote animals as being more valuable than human lives. All animals have teeth or an attack/defense ability. Some are so small it doesn’t matter, but a large animal that is aggressively posturing or attacking will be put down if I have no other avenue of escape or avoidance.

    As a cop I was bitten several times by dogs that the owner claimed was friendly and that “that’s never happened before”. Police are strangers to your home and usually there because you have been victimized so put your pets in a locked room while the police are there to avoid a scared animal attacking or running out the front door. If you have a large dog in the yard, then have a way for visitors to your property to find your doorbell or get your attention without having to enter your property.

    Pet owners are responsible for the actions of their pets and responsible for protecting their pets, even from the pets themselves. I hate going to public forums and walking with my kids and here comes some idiot with a large breed dog on a ten foot lead walking towards us. We no longer go to fairs, farmer markets, outdoor concerts because people feel the need to bring these large animals into a crowded, congested, chaotic venue. So yeah, if a dog gets up into my business aggressively or is biting me because I didn’t see it coming and couldn’t evade or de-escalate it then a gun is going to become involved. I feel very confident that my actions would be defensible. I’m not looking for a fight with an animal and do what I can to avoid a confrontation like crossing the road when I see an animal I don’t know, or avoiding venues where people feel the need to take their animals. It’s an unpleasant thing to think about but it’s better to have a plan and mentally rehearse it then to let the panic and stress of the situation allow you to be injured or worse.

  14. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    I had to shoot a dog once.
    A Rott had a lady trapped in her house and her pre-teen kids trapped in her car in the driveway. Christmas Eve.
    I grabbed the untested bean bag rounds and shotty on the way to the call.
    After I parked and got out of my squad car I saw it charging right at me. I aimed at its forward feet and popped a round off. Hit right in the chest at about 10 feet. (it was like shooting my own dog. My Rott, Sis, was at home protecting my family. Indoors)
    The dog yelped and ran off.
    Had to tell the owners I shot their dog. No lawsuit, no nothing. And more importantly, no disciplinary action on me for using an unapproved use of force.
    The Rott was fine. He got rounded up by the neighbor/owners.

  15. avatar Tim says:

    “If you stop moving, chances are the dog will lose…”

    Consider yourself very fortunate to have never been mauled by dogs.

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      Exactly what I thought…

  16. avatar Tim K. says:

    I’ve drawn my gun on a dog before and I wouldn’t have hesitated to shoot it if it had come to that. I live in an apartment complex that has grass areas between the buildings for walking dogs. One of my neighbors at the time had a jerk black lab who used to bark at everyone. One day I came out my front door and start walking down the path to the parking lot and as soon as I leave my porch, this dog is about 5 feet away from me to my left growling and acting aggressive. I stood my ground just like the article said and drew my pocket carried revolver and leveled it at the dogs head. I just kind of stood there for what felt like forever, waiting for the dog to attack. Luckily, the dogs owner saw what was happening and ran over and grabbed the dogs collar before the situation escalated. She apologized to me, but I still saw that dog off leash all the time so she obviously didn’t learn her lesson. Luckily she moved away a few months after this incident.

  17. avatar anarchyst says:

    I call it the “Disneyfication” of animals…People seem to love their animals much more than their fellow humans…
    Ever since cartoons like “”Bambi” and others gave animals human characteristics, we have had this problem. The “brainwashing” has worked in environmentalists’ favor exceedingly well. . .
    Humanity must suffer so that animals can be elevated to preferential status.
    I, for one have NO PROBLEM killing ANY animal that is threatening either myself or my property…
    Dogs might be “man’s best friend”, BUT they are still animals…

    1. avatar st381183 says:

      Well said, thumbs up, 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 I could not agree more, animals ain’t people people!

      1. avatar Jjimmyjonga says:

        But, unfortunately, many people are in fact animals and do much more damage to other people than a dog can do. A dog violently attacking an innocent person deserves unfortunately to be shot. A person violently attacking an innocent person also deserves to be shot. A handful of dogs killed 3600 people on 9/11/01

    2. avatar Swobard says:

      You know… I’ve met a few people who truly deserved to be shot. But they weren’t a threat to my life at the time, so I restrained myself.
      Have been charged by a couple of angry, threatening dogs (a golden and a large pit), but both realized I was not easy prey. Both settled down nicely and claimed they were actually glad to see me!
      I think most “bad dogs” are a hell of a lot more trustworthy than most “bad people”, and I act accordingly.
      If that’s “Disneyfication”, so be it.

  18. avatar Noishkel says:

    Well when I was in 5th grade I survived a pretty bad dog attack in which I had to damage one so bad it had to be put down… So the idea of having to shoot one doesn’t have as much weight with me as other people.

    I guess ultimately I was never able to develop that deep attachment to dogs that other people seem to have. I don’t hate them at all, but I look at them with as much caution as I have with everyone. Which is a lot, I have to say. >,,>

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      I started carrying after a local ‘good-‘ole-boy’ thought it would be funny as hell to sic his dog on me as I was out for a late-night bike ride south of town.

      The experience of having an animal doing everything it can to latch onto you and hurt you as badly as it can is something you don’t want to experience first-hand…

  19. avatar James Matthewson says:

    When I used to have a paper route, I always carried pepper spray. It worked like a charm, almost instantly disabling several dogs that became a threat. I think a good non lethal option such as pepper spray makes an excellent secondary option as you can circumvent the legal implications of discharging a firearm.

    1. avatar Bob in IN says:

      I was attack on my paper route too by a home owners dog. Saved by a passing motorist that lucky for me stopped the attack. Got home and noticed my poofy winter coat tore up saved my neck from neck bites. I was 14 and small for my age.

  20. avatar Darkman says:

    Shot many dogs in my life. Grew up on a farm with lots of barnyard animals. Stray dogs could be a problem especially killing chickens,ducks etc. Shot our own dogs for this as well as attacking hogs and cattle. Had many many dogs I truly cared about also who lived long happy lives. Dogs are no different than people some are good some are bad. The only difference is we can’t kill the bad humans that deserve it. Regardless of anyone’s else’s comments I have no regrets in my choices. Sometimes it just has to be done.

  21. avatar Paul53 says:

    Shoot a dog in front of his owner? I’d shoot the dog first.

  22. avatar Alan Rose says:

    I have found this video’s advice to be good, have encountered several aggressive dogs when I used to serve civil warrants. When i was in high school, a friend’s dog nipped me in the side without warning. Lesson learned. Many years later, I was walking down my street when 2 very aggressive dogs approached at a run. I stopped and drew my firearm in preparation to defend myself, and sprayed the closest one with pepper spray. He immediately went to the ditch and started dragging his eyes through the water. The second dog, having observed what happened, reconsidered his attack and walked away.

    1. avatar Alan Rose says:

      I have to add…

      Here in Virginia, there’s strong case law for dogs being property. Odds are if you shoot a dog, unless it is found with a significant part of your body in it’s mouth, and you were chained to a tree (unable to retreat), you’re going to be found guilty of destruction of property (if not some gun charge also) and ordered to pay restitution, if not a few days in the pokey. I’ve been in court and seen examples of how case law trumps common sense in these cases. One of the few things I don’t like about my home state.

  23. avatar NJ2AZ says:

    i wouldn’t want to, but if it were the only option i’d take it.

    i’m certainly not about to go full-police though and open fire on the friendly lab that makes a ‘furtive’ tail wag at me

  24. avatar AJPeyerson says:

    Having spent ten years as a bearer of bad news, I’ve freaked out dog owners by being able to knock on their front door, all the while their sometimes unchained guard dog is barking its fool head off. That said, there are caveats… This doesn’t work with multiple dogs. Nor does it work with those yappy little things. It tends to work well with pitties, though.

    Never turn away from the dog. Always face the dog, with your shoulders no more then 30 degrees off from the dog (think ten and two, with the dog at 12). Walk sideways and backwards if necessary. Never approach the dog directly, circle around it instead, never keeping your eyes off the dog. Guard dogs tend to approach from a point of strength, which is rarely face-to-face.

    I’ve never tried this with an attack dog, and I don’t believe it would work well if the dog was ordered to attack. But, if you’re minding your own business, walking down a street, and a dog decides you’re on its property, this might help…

    1. avatar Alan Rose says:

      I’ve squared off with dogs that either met me in the front yard or cornered me at the door. After a few moments of reflection, if it seems right, I’ll lunge at them. 99% of the the time they fright. That’s when I know they’re all bark no bite. YMMV

  25. avatar Ross says:

    I was at the house Wednesday morning 9:30 AM having breakfast three weeks ago heard a lady screaming for help she is 80 years old 5’2”, 85 pounds she was being attacked by pitbull when I got to her she was unconscious in the street pitbull was completely straddling her not wearing a collar ( we found out later she had ripped it off the pitbull trying to fight the dog off ) it growled at me when I ran up I kicked it off the lady and shot it multiple times and killed it when it charged me, than I called it in. Victim camr too as I was shooting the pit, called an ambulance for her, she is doing ok and doesn’t remember much about the attack. Breakfast was cold when I got back to the house.

  26. avatar Ralph says:

    I’ve trained a lot of dogs for protection work, perimeter defense and attack work. It’s what I did for a living before I went to law school. I can state unequivocally that unarmed defense against a “hot” dog can get you killed, and painfully.

    Most dogs don’t really attack, they just bite. One bite, rarely with a full mouth, and they’re done. Protect your face and neck and you’ll be okay. But some dogs go all in, and a strong, determined dog is fully capable of tearing a human being to pieces.

    If you don’t carry OC spray (a water gun with a 50/50 mix of ammonia and water can also be effective), you may have no choice but to shoot. Take the shot. And then beat the living crap out of the owner who didn’t take care of the dog and put it in position to get shot.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      I had forgotten about that ammonia/water mix. Did that once against a sneaky dog while I was commuting by bike.

      It worked.

    2. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “And then beat the living crap out of the owner who didn’t take care of the dog and put it in position to get shot.”

      I carry pepper and a gun for animal defense. Rather than give the owner a righteous and deserved beat-down, I’d probably be more inclined to give the owner a taste of that ‘Bear-b-Gone’ to the face.

      As a note, I like to carry bear spray because it gives you an extended range (30 feet) to allow ‘Bowser’ (and his owner) time to contemplate his (*) bad attitude.

      (*) – Yeah, I know, in biology, if it bites it’s more likely to be female. ‘Bowser’ sounds more intimidating than ‘Bella’…

  27. avatar jwm says:

    Yes. I have.

  28. If you need to shoot a dog, it’s the owners fault.

    To hell with both of them.

  29. avatar Ardent says:

    Fight with dogs, expect to be bitten. In fact, with a serious dog of any size, expect permanent scars and a good possibility of at least minor permanent injury.
    Best defense? Aggressive, violent and relentless offense. Do not back away, press the attack, few dogs will stand and fight if you are actively and seriously attacking.
    How to attack? If you are not yet bitten, kicks are ok, drive low below the head so that you kick upwards into the chest or lower jaw. If you are already bitten, feed your weak side fist to the dog as straight front to back as possible and drive it as deep as you can. Do not pull back, it will only worsen your injuries. The dog will attempt to pull back/whip it’s head side to side, don’t panic, press your body, foot work and fist into the dog. It is very hard to bite something too large for the mouth, or while gagging, which your fist inside the throat will induce. Use your strong side hand to gouge the eyes and or attempt to rip the nose upward and away/off of the snout. If by now the animal is not demonstrating an attempt to either submit or retreat, attempt to ‘wish-bone’ one forelimb over the shoulder/across the back of the animal. Dog shoulders do not flex this way and with its mouth full it has virtually no defense. Continue to wrench/ twist the forelimb until dislocated/broken.

    I’ve never even heard of a man v dog fight proceeding beyond this point.

    Pro tip: anything, even a pencil, gripped on the fist and extending beyond it even 6 inches, held aloft and threaten with as if a club will be taken by a dog as a serious club. Virtually all untrained dogs will continuously retreat/attempt to stay out of range of any club-like weapon. This trick has never failed for me when used, and in my youth I read water meters for a living and got to meet 100s of strange dogs on thier turf. I was never bitten, and never missed a meter due to the presense of a dog.

    The bottom line is that a single dog has no hope of winning a life or death fight with a healthly adult human. Act like the apex predator you are and you will prevail.

    1. avatar MamaLiberty says:

      Glad you are such a fine, fit specimen. I don’t know anyone who could actually manage to engage in this kind of thing, however. And no reason why they should. I’m a small, older woman, disabled, and certainly unwilling to take such chances of serious injury. My 9mm is always on my hip. Any dog that attacks me or others will be shot promptly. I have no obligation to fight it with my bare hands, nor to analyze it’s psych or medical condition.

      1. avatar Hank says:

        Maybe you should get in better shape then? I know plenty of 70+ year olds who are in great shape. There’s nothing wrong with shooting something wether human or animal attacking you, but the majority of dogs can be easily man handled by any reasonably fit human. People fear dogs and other animals mainly because of movies and having no experience, but the fact of the matter is humans are the apex predator on this planet, and it’s been that way long since before guns were invented. You also have to remember a dog may clear ground faster than you can accurately shoot it so you may be forced to go hand to hand, also, a dog on top of another person will not be a clean shot, or the round could go through the dog and into your loved one. Dogs are often thinner in terms of mass then people and even HP’s will zip through them.

        1. avatar MamaLiberty says:

          I most certainly wish I could become strong and agile. I’ve struggled with it most of my life after a major accident that broke my back in two places. You don’t seem to care that a great many people are simply not able to fight that way – and never will be. Not to mention that none of us have any obligation to do so.

          Why do you think guns and other weapons were invented? For self defense. Attacking dogs are certainly no less a threat than any other attack. Each to his own, of course. You can take your chances on serious injury or death. I’m not willing to do so.

          That’s a good reason why I carry a gun…

  30. avatar RCC says:

    Lots of dogs will stop if you show dominance. Had two pit bulls trying to grab friends poodle last month. This was in Malaysia so no weapons of any type allowed.

    At home I’ve shot dogs that were killing our stock several times. Had one case where I shot the closest dog and the pack leader went straight for me. Ended up with it bitting my rifle barrel. Shot it when it tried for a better bite. Nothing else would have stopped it.

    Went to a rural property at arranged time, knocked on door and found out later owner had forgot I was due. Extremely large guard dog tried to bite me several times on my way back to car. On its last try I hit it had enough to break a 2″ by 3″ off cut I had picked up. It still came back. Owner a few months later convicted of drug dealing, murder etc. I was unarmed due to corporate policy that time.

    If a dog is looking at you and growling you can probably escape by being dominant and leaving its territory. All real attacks I have seen the dog just attacked without barking. Then you fight with what you have.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Lots of dogs will stop if you show dominance. Had two pit bulls trying to grab friends poodle last month. This was in Malaysia so no weapons of any type allowed.”

      When ‘weapons’ are banned, having a D-cell Maglite on a police-style belt holster like this one comes in *very* handy :

      http://maglite.com/shop/parts-and-accessories/maglite-2-cell-d-test-accessory-1638.html

  31. avatar former water walker says:

    I’d have no problem shooting a dog. I HAVE used pepper on one and it ran off. You attack me or mine(man or mutt) all bets are off…

    1. avatar TX Gun Gal says:

      Had a small terrier decide to commit suicide by “Emma”, my 60lb. female Golden Retriever.
      I was walking her in neighborhood, past a house with a little badly bred rat terrier male, hanging out in front yard, unattended by renters of house where demon dog lived. Their dog came charging toward us in the street. Figured it was an territorial issue so moved to other side of street and turned away from the little son of a bitch. Glancing over my shoulder, was in full charge toward my dog . Turned and spayed a CS gas canister, hitting him full in muzzle. He turned tail back to front porch gagging and never got off the front porch again
      No need for lethal means.
      BTW: I always have mace in my pocket when being anywhere not prohibited by law.

  32. avatar James in AZ says:

    Why not?

    Unless it’s a police dog, which is a whole lot more equal than I am.

  33. avatar IdahoBoy says:

    I would pepper spray an aggressive dog instead of shooting it. But if confronted with an aggressive human bent on causing harm to me and/or mine, I would forgo the pepper spray and shoot the human.

    I’ll give an aggressive dog the benefit of the doubt, and consider that in the future, his owner may keep him confined. The probability of aggressive humans remaining confined is significantly lower. Also, pepper spray will most likely take the fight out of the dog, but will just anger the human.

    Besides, I like dogs.

  34. avatar Yellow Devil says:

    I frequently run, and over the years I had my fair share of beasts that have run toward or after me. If it’s a dog, 9/10 times it just wants to play. I even had small (unleashed) dog run out of nowhere and jump on my back, and when I looked back at him, he had a look as if to ask “let’s play!” He then got distracted by something else, and ran off just as quickly. There have been maybe almost two times that I have almost gotten bit by loose dogs, and at least once where I almost drew my weapon. I do carry my sidearm and a small knife in a chest rig. I can tell the difference wanting to play and wanting to fight. If they choose the latter and attack, I will respond accordingly.

    I’ve ran across other wild animals as well (coyotes, peccaries, snakes, etc) but they generally don’t bother me.

  35. avatar Martin B says:

    Twice attacked, both times doing home visits on female welfare recipients. The first, an Alsatian, I held it off with my clip board after bopping it on the nose. The second, a Doberman caught me by the ankle from behind while the owner was inviting me inside. Hurt a little, but made me angry. I kept throwing the owner’s potted plants at it as it circled the front yard. Other instances of pitbulls, one potentially nasty as two pitties sailed past my head as they jumped a six foot fence. I got the hell out of there. Another time, a pittie jumped into the car as I opened the door. It took several minutes to wrestle him out of the car, and in the meantime I was in serious danger of being licked to death.

    Overall, there are many times more good dogs than bad, but bad owners can produce killers.

  36. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Depends on how fast it is moving

  37. avatar John says:

    Pepper Spray

  38. avatar Adam says:

    If your being attacked by a dog shove your fist down their throat and pin them down if possible. If your being attacked by multiple dogs your boned.

  39. avatar rt66paul says:

    Meter readers used to have a stick with a tennis ball on it. They were instructed to wave it and the dog should focus on it. The problem was that about 2% of the time when being confronted by an aggressive dog, it would go for the meter reader’s junk.

    Never trust an aggressive dog. They are either scared of you or they are trained to attack. In either case, you need to watch them closely.

    1. avatar TrappedInCommiefornia says:

      “9 times out of 10, they go right for the crotch!” -Peggy Hill

      1. avatar David Walters says:

        Actually, Peg, they are going for the center of mass…much like shooters do. If the junks there it’s, well, going to be junk. If the butt cheeks are there, same.

        Dogs aren’t out to castrate. They’re there to bite whatever part of the anatomy is most readily available.

  40. avatar GS650G says:

    Lots of stories here.
    I saw two big 100 lb dogs out of their fenced in yard roaming the street. A neighbor had a kiddy party going on and I warned them about the dogs. The whole neighborhood knew these dogs were not socialized and a threat. I called the law and holstered my 9mm.
    An hour later a cop showed up. Good thing no one got bit. The dogs were MIA but I asked John law if I could shoot the dogs should they threaten or attack anyone. His reply: I would.
    So there you have it. But it’s hard to hit a dog moving fast and if it’s on a person you have to take care not to hit the person.
    Think about that before declaring a dog is going down. Do you think you can hit a fast dog or one jumped on someone rolling around? How about 3 dogs wrapped around a child?

  41. avatar Accur81 says:

    I’ve only used less lethal weapons on dogs so far. Other guys in my office have Tased some pit bulls, Rottweilers, and various mutts. We haven’t had a single combat / self defense shooting against a dog since I got to my office in 2001.

  42. avatar JOE MATAFOME says:

    My sister was walking her dog last night when he was attacked by a neighbors pit bull that got loose again. Her boyfriend repeatedly kicked and punched the pit and couldn’t make it let go. Another neighbor came running and tried to help and the dog only let go after the owner came out and grabbed her mutt. My friend yelled at her and she got mad at him for speaking to her like that. I wish i had been there, but it’s a good thing for her vicious mutt that i wasn’t.

  43. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I had one ugly encounter with a neighbor’s two german shepards that already demonstrated they were hyper-aggressive. The two shepherds were on the loose. One came running from who-knows-where, right past the owner, straight toward me — totally silent in kill mode. I drew my handgun and stepped forward to shoot it. My physical response and body posture stopped that dog about 15 feet away at which point it finally started barking. We had a stand-off for about 5 seconds until the owner finally got over to grab his dog.

    Since the dog stopped about 15 feet away, I did not squeeze the trigger. Had the dog continued its charge to me, I would have shot it when it was about 6 feet away. And I believed that I would have been totally justified in that situation since there were two dogs on the loose (which are exponentially more dangerous than one dog) and both had demonstrated their hyper-aggressive personality in a previous encounter.

    1. avatar Sal Chichon says:

      Personally I think you did the neighborhood, as a whole, a disservice by not shooting the dog. While I commend your self control, being that 15 ft is damned close in terms of a charging dog… I don’t think I might have made the same choice. I guess what you did was ultimately right considering the dog did stop, however I also think about the next time. Those dogs will probably get loose again, and the next time it might be a weaker person getting charged. I shutter to think of the results. I hope you yelled your ass off at the owner.

    2. avatar David Walters says:

      One attacking dog, probably can counter charge it successfully and drive it off. More than one…never happen.

  44. avatar Rick says:

    A stray dog came at me in my own driveway, but I had a walking stick and I ended up chasing him half way down the block. He never came back.

  45. avatar joetast says:

    I can shoot human easier then dog.

  46. avatar Joe R. says:

    Not sure about “attacking” dogs. I’ve tried to copy what small clueless children sometimes do, they say “puppy” loudly and in a friendly welcoming tone and gestures, and it really throws an aggressing dog off for a second and a blunted attack is always better receiving than a full on one IMHO.

  47. avatar ATFAgentBob says:

    Only had to shoot one dog that kept getting into my cousin’s chicken coop. Most dogs I’ve come across are pretty friendly or just want something to bark at. Still, I do have one “problem dog” around the neighborhood. Somebody has a large Mastiff type dog that really isn’t too keen on men, she has exhibited some aggressive behavior in the past charging me once, but when that was met with me stepping towards her she stopped and started barking before deciding she had a very important bone buried at home.

    1. avatar Button Gwinnett says:

      That’s my experience pretty much. Act like Alpha Dog, get left alone.

  48. avatar Sal Chichon says:

    I don’t like dogs, and best thing I can say about them is that on a day-to-day basis I am ambivalent towards them. So it should come as no surprise when I say I would shoot a dog clean into the ground rather than risk a single scratch to my person. My inequaltiy expression is simple:

    Me + people I care about > any animal on the planet

  49. avatar Button Gwinnett says:

    I like dogs. A lot. So tell you what – if your dog is off leash and attacking me, I’ll shoot YOU.

  50. avatar Anonymous says:

    When I first moved to my neighborhood, one of my neighbors dogs was barking like mad and rushed at me across the road, the sidewalk, my lawn, and to my garage. I was inside my garage and had the garage door open and didn’t run. Instead I picked up a steel crowbar next to me. Good thing that dog stopped in his tracks before entering my garage. Because if he did, I would have dragged his fleshly red spaghetti carcass back to my neighbors porch and requested he clean up his dogs brains out of my garage.

    I have zero patience and zero sympathy for these kinds of events.

  51. avatar Kimberwarrior45 says:

    Had to twice, interestingly both happened at the same location exactly 365 days apart. First mauled a woman then charged me while I kept an eye on it till the Dog Warden arrived, one round stop but couldn’t shoot it in the head because needed that for rabies check. Second time same victim called and left area. i got there and the dog appeared fine, UNTIL I touched it then it tried to take my arm off. I was leaping backwards, flinging my left arm upward as the dog leaped, drew my duty weapon and punch shot, again one round stopped it. Postscript first dog was abused by owner (next door neighbor), victim recovered no complication. Second unknown.

  52. avatar EJQ says:

    I’ve seen a bloody dog fight in my neighborhood a long time ago, as a child. Easily broken up with a garden hose.Shock of water stopped the fight.

    My grandmother tried to pick up her cat while it was in battle with another. Grandmother sustained a nasty bite and a night in the hospital. My mother and Aunt “rescued” the cat from my grandfather just in time. He was about to dispose of the cat, but the cat needed to be checked for rabies, or else my grandmother would have had to undergo a painful series of rabies shots. Grandfather was headed to the nearest lake or river with the cat.

    We tend to see one coyote on occasion. Usually we’re safe, so are others. A coyote during the day, all alone, means it’s sick or injured. Animal control is near, (small town) so we’ve just called it in.

    I know most pets in the neighborhood, by name. Not an abused or attack dog here. Just the occasional coyote. I’m not sure on the legality of shooting one. Animal control can handle it over me losing my gun.

  53. avatar Bill B says:

    Could I shoot an attacking dog? In a HEARTBEAT. Wouldn’t hesitate for a second if I or any of my family was threatened.

    A number of years ago, what seemed to be a harmless,collared dog was found sitting on my front porch. I went out to shoo it away, but instead it tried to enter through the partially open front door. (Wife and two kids in the house.) I grabbed it on either side the the front shoulders (not roughly) and pulled it back outside the house.

    It immediately turned and bit me on the hand. Hindsight being 20/20 I should have grabbed it by the collar. After the bite, I was able to toss it clear of the porch and closed the door. The animal ran off.

    Being an EMT at the time, I cracked open my jump kit and cleaned the 3/4-inch laceration as best I could. Bleeding was easily stopped. I called my doctor the next morning, went in to see him and relayed the happenings of the previous night. He took all the information, my description of the f$%king animal, examined the wound. I’d done as much as he would have to clean it.

    We discussed what might have to happen if the dog wasn’t located. He contacted the local police, the local radio station aired a description of the creature, and I waited.

    Day 3 and no responses. Time for the Rabies series. Not horrible, but not pleasant. Something akin to having a liquid the thickness of maple syrup injected into you. Three times.

    Fast forward about a year. I see the hellhound walking down my street. After following it at a distance, I was able to finally determine who it belonged to. After confronting said inbred drug addled alcoholic gutless POS owner about the incident, his response was that his dog was inside that night. (I’d never mentioned a specific date, only that his dog was the one that had bitten me.) He knew full well what had happened and was too gutless to own up to it.

    I blame the dog and the owner. I’d never been a dog person and am far less of one now. I didn’t carry back then. Would I have shot that dog? No. Did it feel a bit better when the owner was finally cited and slapped with a rather substantial fine? Nope.

    I don’t take chances with dogs anymore. And, yes, I’d drop one in front of it’s owner if my life or another was being threatened. In a HEARTBEAT.

  54. Beat him up, what else.

  55. avatar cisoc kid says:

    I know of an instance where a guy was attacked by a dog while hunting. He fell down and the shotgun went off quite accidentally and it killed the dog. It was not intentional at all. The hunter was then sued by the owner of the dog and the hunters home insurance had to pay for the dog which was 10 times what is was worth and despite the insurance company telling the hunter his rates would not go up because it was not his fault they ended up doubling his home owners policy.

    So when you here all these posters puffing up their chests and claiming they would blast away and kill a persons dog just remember in todays world it has legal consequences even if you are in the right and you could also be arrested for disturbing the peace by firing off a weapon, being a public nuisance, endangering the public by shooting off the gun and the list starts to become endless very quickly. Sometimes legal bills can escalate to over $50,000 dollars in a very short period of time and that is if there is not a trial and a lawsuit.

  56. avatar cisoc kid says:

    I was attacked once when out hunting. I made the mistake of trying to run. I jumped down out of sight into a ditch out of sight and took off running but the dog was smarter than I thought and he appeared right above me while I was down in the ditch running. I was a mere lad of 16 and I threw up my 16 ga Savage Stevens single shot flipped off the safety and stood still with my finger on the trigger. If the dog had attempted to come down into the ditch he would have been blown in two but the dog realizing I was going to stand and fight him turned and walked off.

    I do not hate dogs but I do not like them much either. They are an animal that you can never trust especially around kids. They may act protective and gentle one minute and the next turn into a savage carnivore the next minute. We had a next door neighbor who’s little 5 year old daughter was sitting on the porch when a dog which was a Shepard that lived on the other side of town came up to her and bit off half her face. Just another example of a hill jack irresponsible dog owner who needed to go to jail and be fined into bankruptcy. He paid plenty over that incident but was small compensation for disfiguring a little girl.

  57. avatar pickle rick says:

    in New York, dogs are considered tangible personal property.

    If I destroy a dog its as if I destroyed a pencil.

    Reimburse the owner and move on.

  58. avatar David Walters says:

    Could I shoot an attacking dog. Yep, if I could get a good bead on him instead of hitting my own dog.

    But here’s a couple of non-firearm remedies that I’ve found to work very well. Bear spray (not pepper spray, BEAR SPRAY!!!).

    Also, the most successful way to thwart an attack before it gets started is to carry one of the Marine signal horns (not the tiny ones that lose their refrigerant quickly, but rather, the larger ones). I swear it stops dog fights cold and sends both the attacker and attacked running.

  59. avatar adverse4 says:

    Toy poodles will sneak up on you and bite you.

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