When a Dog Attacks: What the Law Says About Defending Yourself With a Gun

In the moments before a dog attacks you, everything can seem like a blur. You’re not thinking about California’s dog bite laws and what’s going to happen to you legally if you hurt the dog that is about to lunge at you. Instead, you’re contemplating what you’re going to do to save your life. Unfortunately, even in times like these, you can get in trouble with the law if you’re not sure how you can legally defend yourself.

Are You Allowed to Shoot a Dog?

When teeth are gnarled, ears are back, and an angry dog is growling at you, your first instinct may be to run. Doing this, however, may engage the dog’s prey instinct, and will only make him want to attack you more. Attempting to use your arms or legs to push it away will likely end in additional bites. You may be able to hold it off with an object like a bat, but some dogs will continue to attack despite being hit. With all this said, sometimes the only option is one that is drastic, like reaching for a gun, but is shooting a dog legal?

The law states that if a dog is threatening you or your livestock, you have the right to shoot it. The dog must be actively trying to harm you or animals you keep on your farm or ranch. You are not allowed, however, to retaliate against an animal after the attack is over. If you find the dog that bit you days later and decide to shoot it, you can be charged. Similarly, the law does not protect those who automatically shoot any animals that enter their properties; the dogs must be presently threatening the livestock or you.

Were You Injured by a Dog?

Dog bites can cause severe pain and permanent damage. They can also costs you thousands of dollars in medical bills and time lost from work. The Steinberg Injury Lawyers want to help you hold the person responsible for the bite accountable. Schedule your free consultation by calling 800-989-6385 and find out what we can do for you.