legality of defense against an animal

Discussion in 'Firearm Related' started by fox, Oct 22, 2010.

  1. fox

    fox Member

    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?

  2. martin_j001

    martin_j001 Active Member

    Assuming no ifs, ands or buts about the situation, you should be ok to use deadly force to protect yourself and your son from harm in the situations you described (no owners visible, no collars, etc). No one will question it in the case of a coyote; and in the case of a pitbull the only reprecussions could come from an owner--but again, if there's no collar, and no owner in sight, it'd be entirely your call at that point I'd think.

    IIRC, there's a recent (last few years) story of a man shooting a dog he claimed to be protecting himself from, but the problem was he first spent a few minutes yelling at the owner, who had the dog on a leash or at least in her control. The man pulled a gun on the pair, at which time the woman let go of her dog, and the man then shot it. Also IIRC, I don't think this was a large dog either, so IMO, use of deadly force was questionable even if the dog wasn't under control at all. The man is now serving time in prison.

  3. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

  4. martin_j001

    martin_j001 Active Member

    ^^Yep, thanks for the link Malum.

    The "take-away" post from that thread (at least IMO) is quoted below. This is where I say be sure there's no ifs, ands or buts about this situation, there were a combination of ifs, ands and buts that basically proved that this guy wasn't protecting himself....

  5. Hock25

    Hock25 New Member

    If you're truly defending yourself, no problem. If you're taking it upon yourself to punish a dog, dog owner, assert your opinion about a dog breed, or otherwise compensate for lack of character, your screwed.
  6. gruntpain1775

    gruntpain1775 New Member

    "Fox" asking about shooting animals. Irony. Lol
  7. budone1967

    budone1967 Die Hard GCO Recruiter

    Coyotes, yes shoot the mangy animals and do everyone a favor. If you shoot a dog anywhere in Georgia, you had better make sure it is a threat to you or your family. Just shooting a stray dog because he's large and stray will get you a felony conviction. I don't think it's right but it's the idiotic society we live it today.