Defending From Wild Animals

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

I used to live next door to a family who had three very aggressive dogs; one of which supposedly killed someone once. I always wondered how that dog was still alive and hadn’t been put to sleep; but that wasn’t my problem. The bigger problem for me was that the dog attacked my dog and nearly killed it. Those dogs were so aggressive that they were literally trying to eat their way through our cedar privacy fence, so that they could get at our dogs. We had to add another layer of cedar to the fence to make it strong enough for the dogs.

That situation led me to check the law and what my legal boundaries were in defending myself, my family and my pets from those dogs. Surprisingly, the law did not allow for me to shoot the dogs, even if they were on my property and attacking my dogs, even though I live in a state with rather robust self-defense laws. Apparently protecting yourself from a human and protecting yourself from an animal aren’t considered the same thing.

Here’s the thing though… when it comes down to it, you’ve got to defend your family. If that means killing a dog that’s attacking your child or a bear that’s gotten into the neighborhood, then you’ve got to do it. Hopefully the courts will understand the necessity of your actions and be lenient on you.

Even so, I’m not so sure that using a gun is the right thing to do at a time like that. Have you ever seen dogs fight? They don’t make very good targets. Chances are just as high of hitting the person you’re trying to protect the dog from, maybe even higher, than they are of hitting the dog.

You don’t want to insert yourself into the situation empty handed either. I’ve made the mistake of doing that when my dog was fighting with a family member’s dog who tried to steal her treat. While you might protect your dog or your child, chances are pretty high that you will do so at the cost of being bit. If you have to grab the dogs, then grab them by the collar, so that you can control them.

Due to the danger involved to myself and to any other family member caught in such a situation, I’d rather use something besides a gun; something like a stick. Remember, the goal is to protect the person being attacked, rather than killing the animal. If you can protect them from the dog, without killing the animal, then that’s good enough. If the dog is actually dangerous enough that it needs to be killed, let the courts order it. That keeps you out of legal trouble.

But what if we’re talking about another dangerous animal? I’ve seen poisonous snakes in people’s homes, mountain lions that have come into town and bulls that were going on a tirade, ready to gore anyone they could find. What do you do then?

Situational awareness comes into play here. Usually when we talk about situational awareness, we’re talking about protecting ourselves from human danger. But it’s really supposed to be about any type of danger that could come near. If we have our situational awareness up and running, we should notice this danger, just like any other.

The best thing to do in such a case is to go inside our homes and close the door, leaving the animal outside. Of course, if that animal happens to get into the house, then things are the opposite and we should go out, locking it indoors. Then we can call the appropriate authorities to come take care of the animal. Your local 9-1-1 operator will know if there is animal control in your city and if not, who they should pass the call on to.

If all else fails, you’ve got to defend yourself and your family. But that’s assuming you’ve given everything else a chance to fail. A mountain lion in your neighborhood isn’t hunting season; it’s a problem that has to be taken care of. That wouldn’t make much of a trophy and it wouldn’t make much of a hunting story. Better to let the authorities take care of it, capturing that animal and releasing it back to the wild, where it can live in peace. That’ll make for just as good a story anyway.

Hopefully this won’t be a problem you face; but just in case, I’d check the laws for your community. That way, you can be prepared, just like for any other emergency. You know, like keeping your survival gear at hand and your powder dry.

Dr. Rich

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