On Monday, Lebanon Police Officer Wheat responded to a man being attacked by a pair of boxers. He arrived at Memorial Park to see an elderly man bloodied on his arms and legs and his Yorkshire Terrier lying dead. While assessing the situation, one of the suspected boxers returned to the scene charging toward the officer. He drew his pistol, fired, and killed the dog. The second dog, it was later learned, was being held by a citizen.
Personally, I can relate to Officer Wheat’s actions. My family enjoys taking walks in our quiet town. Even so, I never leave the house without my 1911 cocked and locked. This day was no different. With my two small children bouncing around in a Radio Flyer and my wife holding the leash of our 30 lb Puggle (please don’t judge me) we set out on an evening walk.
Less than a block from our house we were startled from our peaceful meandering by a large Rottweiler leaping, snarling, and growling from behind a shabby chain link fence about 10 yards from the public sidewalk. Believing that the shabby fence was going to keep the 150 pound dog in check, we continued on our way. Not more than 5 seconds later, my wife and I were again startled to see the dog aggressively approaching our little group. Clearly, the fence had not done its job.
The dog made a B-line for our dog, Ernie, as my wife maneuvered further away from the approaching dog. As the dog approached, I drew my pistol, fearing for my wife and dog’s safety. Before I was able to fire, the dog was inches from my wife and standing over my cowering dog. Clearly I was not able to get a clean shot. So I re-holstered my pistol and grabbed the dog by the back of the collar and pulled him off my dog. As I did, his owner, who was on the other side of the house, ran around and took “control” of the dog.
In my adrenaline-dumped state, I exchanged un-pleasantries with the owner and we hastily made our way back to our house where I notified the local police. I felt that since I had drawn my weapon in public and almost shot a dog, I wanted to be the first to report it. Since no shots were fired, I chose not to STFU and did not contact my attorney.
While this all played out OK, that decision is, obviously, up to you. Sing TFU after a DGU has been covered extensively here. Sin TFU after a “non-shooting,” though, is an animal (no pun intended) of a different kind. I know several members of this police department and am familiar with their views on firearm ownership. After telling the officer what happened, he assured me that I had done nothing illegal and added that if it were him, he would have shot the dog. I believe he meant that if it were him and his wife were not in the way, he would have killed the dog.
There are numerous examples in the news today of police not batting an eye at taking out “charging” or “aggressive” dogs. Many people, namely owners of the ever-so-innocent and always cute and cuddly pooch that was the subject of said altercation (sound familiar?) feel that the police are trigger happy when it comes to man’s best friend. After escaping my little altercation with a beast myself, I can see where they are coming from. Even in my case, in which no one was injured or bitten, if my wife had not been so close to the dog, I would have taken the shot and been able to sleep at night. Please spare me the hindsight lecture. My safety was off, I was bringing the sights up, I was mentally prepared to pull the trigger.
Broad daylight is not the optimum operating time for bad guys. But, bad guys are not always the bad guys.