Concealed Carrier Shoots Pit Bull Attacking His Shepard, No Charges Will Be Filed

Concealed Carrier Shoots Pit Bull Attacking His Shepard, No Charges Will Be Filed

A couple was out for a walk around 1:00 PM with their Australian Shephard in New Castle, PA when a Pit Bull broke free from its tether and attacked their dog. The couple tried to physically get the Pit Bull off of their dog but were unsuccessful. The Pit Bull reportedly retreated twice but then attacked for a third time.

It was at this point that the husband pulled his .380 pistol and shot the Pit Bull in the hind end intending to only stop the attack. He told police:

“[it] came running full charge at us and snapped its cable. I didn’t want to have to shoot the dog. I didn’t want it to die, but I shot it to stop it from attacking my dog. This dog was on a mission straight to hurt him. My dog is my child and part of my family, and I’m going to protect him”. VIA NEW CASTLE NEWS

The Shepherd did not suffer any serious injuries but the Pit Bull died at a veterinarian emergency room. Witnesses and both dog owners all told police similar versions of the events.

The local police chief conferred with the Lawrence County District Attorney’s office and both concluded that the husband was justified in shooting the Pit Bull because he had a right to protect his animal.

Wrong! On all counts. This man is very fortunate to have gotten a favorable ruling from the local authorities. Please do not use this story as an example of what’s permissible when it comes to defending your pets.

Legally, pets are considered mere property. I know that most pet owners consider their dogs and cats in particular to be a part of their family but, under the law, they are not. They are property and the use of deadly force, except under very specific circumstances in Texas, is not justified to protect ordinary property, ever.

This man caught a break in this case as he could have been charged with reckless endangerment, (other people were present) discharging a firearm within City limits or other such like. He still could potentially face a civil suit by the Pit Bull’s owner.

Had the Pit Bull attacked the man or his wife or a child that would have been a different situation. You’d still have to be able to articulate that the attack was deadly in nature but then you’d be defending human life and self-defense using deadly force would be justified.

As far as our pets are concerned, pepper spray is possibly your best option. Sorry, I know that doesn’t sound fair or right but it is the law

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Mark Ehlen is a USCCA certified firearms instructor, a MN DNR Firearms Safety instructor, high school trap shooting coach and a writer. As one of his uncles ran Federal Cartridge Corp for many years and his father retired from there, firearms and ammo are second nature to him. His firearms instruction is aimed at helping new shooters have a positive experience as well as understanding the practical and legal side of concealed carry. Mark can be reached at Marksmanship Firearms Training.
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G man

I wanted to relate a story I just had myself with a Pit Bull. On Saturday after returning from a shopping trip I was on my cell phone in my driveway when I heard screaming as if someone was being attacked. Two women and a man and a small girl were out in the street and the dog was attacking one of the mothers 5 year daughter. The mother was yelling for help and crying and lifting up the daughter as the dog continued to try to attack the young girl and then bite the mothers leg. A tall young man was trying to get the dog away from them but the dog kept running about and was trying to get around him to attack the young girl and mother. The other woman had stopped her truck in the street and they were trying to get the young girl into the truck. The dog was like a shark it was going after one target as if that was the prize or game toy it was trying to get. It was strange to see. I immediately had left my car when I noticed what was happening and joined with the guy to try to run interference with the dog. This young man was bigger and taller than me and the dog seemed to want to avoid him as if the dog was afraid of him and with me with him the dog was avoiding the two of us. As soon as the dog was away from both of us and there was 10 feet between me and the other guy and it was away from them I immediately unholstered my firearm as I’m licensed to carry and flipped off the safety. I asked the guy if that was his dog and he said no. I pointed the gun at the dog and said I may have to kill this thing. I was determined the dog would not be returning to harm the woman if it approached to attack me or go past us I would have to shoot it. But I also wondered if my handgun would be sufficient to take down a pit bull I had read police had shot these in the past and bullets bounce off their thick skulls. I had a reasonably powerful handgun with me however a Five Seven which has a high muzzle velocity and was loaded with the standard sporting ammo. I didn’t want to shoot the dog and it was staying away from us and moved around a bit but this taller guy seemed to be able to move the dog away from us and I also feared that I could be charged with shooting a dog even if it bite someone. And I also feared a bullet flying up off the pavement or flying out beyond the dog and harming someone else. Although there was nobody past the dog. I also had seen a police officer draw on a dog many years ago when I was young and was ready to shoot it but he didn’t because apparently he didn’t have to. I know discharging a firearm in my city is a crime, but under self defense that should be waved. As the dog may have bit two people already and was in attack mode I thought I would probably be justified. The guy and I moved the dog down the street and it ran behind a corner house into the alley temporarily far away before starting to head back. I called 911 and asked for police discribed the dog and woman and child being attacked and said send ambulances because there may be two dog bite victims. The dog wandered into a large yard on the south west corner through a car gate and I started to close the gate to keep it locked in a yard. The other guy continued in and kept it away from the gate. I was confused as how the dog was afraid of this guy an apparent good Samaritan. He then returned back and I closed the other side. About 30 seconds later I could not see the dog and the young man said he escaped out the back into the alley. I couldn’t believe it, out again so I started to run around the side to see but had holstered my weapon and it was concealed again. The dog was still inside that yard was completely fenced in. The police arrived I told them briefly where the dog was. One other group of ladies stopped and one was a nurse and checked the wounds of the mother and said she’d be okay she had a puncture wound from a dog bite to her calf and was still crying. The little 5 year old was crying as well and frightened, wouldn’t anyone be. And she apparently was okay but had lost her winter boot which apparently the dog had got ahold of. The EMS and ambulance were there in like three minutes and five police cars were there. The officers questioned the young man and he admitted it was his dog. The mother was put into an ambulance to go to the ER. And the father of the child arrived and was carrying her home. The thing was I didn’t know for sure if I would be tried for harming an animal if I shot it by an overzealous prosecutor. You never know what a gun grabbing prosecutor might try to do. But I was confident I would probably be justified in shooting it if I had to. The young man actually got the dog for the dog catcher truck and dragged it up and put it in the cage. He had told police before they arrived it never attacked children before and it was around children. This dog it turned out was viscous and this guy was a new renter who I seldom see who is living almost directly across the street from me. I’d see him with his wife or girlfriend late at night and never spoke to him. I didn’t even recognize him but knew his dog was viscous from the past but at the time wasn’t sure that that was his dog or him. It was very fluid and dynamic. I was happy that I didn’t have to shoot that dog in front of it’s owner or others, but had to be ready to do that if necessary. It’s very difficult to decide when to shoot and when not to shoot when you are not 100 percent sure of the target location and downrange areas where the bullet might go. My other friend is into guns and felt my Five Seven would have dispensed of that dog pretty easily. It does have a high muzzle velocity. But one might never know. The gun was useless of course when the dog was near others and I could not deploy it when it was near them or on them for fear of shooting a human. My other neighbor arrived and his wife chewed out an officer who was there saying she called about their dog a week ago and animal control never came out and if they had dealt with that dog a week ago it may have never bit anyone.