Had a hair raising close call here last week. One of my neighbors has two very large German Shepherd dogs. He lets them run loose when he is with them – actually allows them to chase him when he’s on an ATV – and they never seemed to be a problem until last week.
I carried my 9mm carbine down to the fence along the road that day because those two dogs were chasing one of the horses just across the road from me. The pony was kicking at the dogs, and darn near nailed one too. The dogs didn’t seem to be trying to bring the pony down, but they were all running fast and at any time the pony could have stepped into a hole and broken its leg or gotten hurt running into the barbed wire. The field where the horses graze is rough, with rabbit and other holes evident. I’ve had horses, and know they can be panicked into a bad place or a fence. They don’t know the dogs are only playing.
The law here in Wyoming is very clear that any dog harming or harassing livestock may be shot without warning or any repercussions. I’m not sure whether or not that applies only to the owner of the livestock, and family/employees, but I would not have hesitated to shoot if it had gone on any longer. The owner of the horses didn’t get involved until after the dogs were led away… and he wasn’t armed.
The owner of the dogs was soon running around after them like an idiot, shouting at the dogs with zero influence on them, but just as I got into position, he managed to grab one of them and got them sort of, kind of under control – so I just watched as he led them back to his own property.
I don’t know if he noticed the gun or not… but hope he did. All I can say is that he’d damn well better keep those dogs at home from now on. I have no desire to shoot dogs, but I’ll not watch them harass or harm other livestock either. Dogs that harm horses might just as easily harass a small child.
Thinking about it later, I compared the incident with the potential for defending myself and others from any sort of predator, including other humans. I’ve always considered myself ready to respond in that case, but going through the anger, reluctance and uncertainty of shooting a dog chasing a horse… I’m not quite as sure as I thought I was. And it is something that everyone who carries a gun – or even keeps one in the house – needs to think about seriously, and often.
Could you be calm and focused if you felt you needed to shoot a marauding dog? Do you have a clear idea what conditions would need to be met before you pulled the trigger? What if the marauder was a person? A teen ager? A woman? A cop? How would you prepare yourself for these encounters?
Seems to me that the ever tightening noose in our world today brings that dilemma ever closer to reality. What are you doing to prepare, or is this just paranoid thinking?