CCW Weekend: When Your Attacker Is A Dog

Guns and Gear | Contributor

By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters

I monitor news reports – admittedly not with the utmost assiduity but with regularity – for incidents involving concealed carriers, usually with the hopes of discovering some sort of common theme that is or could be of use to anyone who cares to read it. Something that I’ve noticed is that I stumble across as many instances of defensive gun uses, if not more, that involve dog attacks rather than people attacking other people.

Is it possible, then, that you’re just as likely to use your gun to put down a dangerous dog rather than a dangerous human? If you’re going to carry a gun in a concealed carry holster, it’s something to consider. It seems to be a terrible shame if something like that is the case; dogs are generally more likable than people!

But it does seem like it might be. After all, one of the effective ways to minimize your chances of a defensive encounter is geographical. Most violent crime is concentrated in urban areas and at that, usually in a few districts within those urban areas. Avoid those high-crime areas and your risk of being exposed to armed robbery and other violent crime is drastically reduced.

Dogs, on the other hand, can be found in virtually any environment. From urban to suburban to rural, people own dogs. Unless your nearest neighbors are very far away indeed, you aren’t likely too far away from one.

A lot of things can turn a dog aggressive. Some dogs have a disposition towards aggression due to a number of factors. Some only become aggressive if presented with the right stimuli. In some instances the owner is clearly at fault and in other instances the owner may have had no idea whatsoever.

Some people might get into the pit bull debate at this point, but the truth is that plenty of animals get aggressive or dangerous regardless of the breed. I’ve known wonderful mutts and dogs of multiple breeds, including pit bulls, and aggressive mutts or dogs of other breeds which has led me to seriously doubt that breed plays the biggest part. Neglectful or bad-tempered owners and bad-tempered dogs seem to go hand-in-hand much more often.

That said, I found more than a half-dozen instances where either a police officer or a concealed carrier had to shoot an aggressive dog in the past month. Yes, there have been instances of a dog being shot by officers in less-than-flattering circumstances, but these weren’t those examples. For instance, an off-duty LA County Sheriff’s deputy was walking his dog in Newhall, Calif., on May 13, according to CBSLA, when his dog was attacked by a pit bull that managed to wrest itself free of its owner, and was forced to shoot.

Two recent instances occurred in Oregon; one in Williams (near the CA border) and another in Portland. In the former instance, a man’s horse was attacked by three loose dogs on May 11, and two ran off after he fatally shot one animal, according to KLTV. On the same day, according to OregonLive, a white pit bull in Southeast Portland had chased at least one woman, bit one man and was starting to attack a group of children awaiting the school bus when it was shot by police.

On May 13, according to KTNV, a pit bull attacked two dogs that were on their morning walk with their owner. The man and a neighbor were unsuccessful in trying to break up the attack, the neighbor offered the man the use of his concealed carry gun, which fatally wounded the attacking animal. It was the third such pit bull incident inside a week; another pit bull had to be shot in a similar manner the previous day of that incident.

Another dog attack occurred on May 8 in Waco, Texas, according to the Waco Tribune, when an unidentified 23-year-old man was skateboarding and walking his dog when attacked by another dog. The man in question had a license to carry. He drew his pistol and killed the attacking dog.

And so it goes; there are plenty of other examples are out there of having to deal with dangerous animals and such instances occur all the time.

Generally, the rules of defending yourself against dogs or other animals are the same as against a person. You have to have no other choice but to shoot in order to save yourself, someone else or your pets and/or livestock. Granted, there are other statutes that come into play. Some jurisdictions – such as Oregon – allow for any animal off its owner’s property attacking a person or their pets/livestock to be killed, for instance.

However, it would appear to be just as much a possibility that you may have to draw on a vicious animal as a vicious person.

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Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit

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