What are the consequences of using force upon an animal that you believe is about to do harm to yourself and/or family? I live in a residential neighborhood in the county and very often hear coyotes at night and even early in the morning. We live very close to the woods and the yelping sounds extremely close at times. I've also seen pitbulls running through the neighborhood at night. Once when I was walking at night, unarmed, thankfully the dog didn't see me and went another direction. The second time, I was in a vehicle and drove past 2 pitbulls, no collars, just roaming. I'm leary of any large dog that I don't know and it doesn't know me, not just pitbulls. I leave the house every morning during the week at 6am with my 8 month old son. What kind of legal issues am I looking at if I had to use a firearm against a coyote or dog on my property? What if I wasn't on my property, just out walking with my family after dinner one night?