A couple walking their two dogs past a neighbor’s home who had just that day acquired a 3-year-old Pit Bull off of Craig’s List was attacked by that dog. The couple did their best to stop the attack, even using some form of a stun gun, but they were unsuccessful in getting the Pit Bull to give up.
Eventually, they resorted to shooting the dog which died at the scene. The Pit Bull’s owner said he wasn’t aware of any behavior issues when he purchased the dog. He also didn’t blame the neighbors and said he would have done the same thing.
There was no word as to the extent of any injuries to the couple or their dogs and also no indications as to any charges against either the Pit Bull owner or the couple.
Dog attacks can be very frightening, especially against something like a mature Pit Bull. Whether or not they justify the use of deadly force depends on whether the attack is against humans or just their pets.
This couple was walking their two dogs and dog attacks are commonly triggered by and are really against other dogs. Trying to stop the attack with some kind of electronic stun device is a good first move but going to the gun, especially in a neighborhood, is not legally justified. I’m sorry, don’t shoot the messenger, but dogs are considered property by the law and deadly force is not legal to defend property. Of course, charges would be up to the local prosecutor.
The other issue with going to a gun in a dog attack is that dogs are relatively small, fast-moving objects. Even once the dog has attached itself to another dog it’s not going to hold still. If you are able to get a good hold on it and attempt a very close or even a contact shot, there is the danger of over penetration and potential ricochet off of normal street pavement.
Since there was no mention of injuries to the couple (I think that likely would have been reported if that was the case), I’m going to assume the attack was against their dogs. In this case, both parties could potentially sue each other, one for the death of his dog and the others for vet bills for theirs.
Of course, if it could be shown that the attack was against the couple then deadly force may very well have been justified. But the same precautions apply to be certain that you don’t shoot yourself or the other person you are trying to defend.