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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    9

    Default Neighbor Killed Two of Our Dogs on His Land

    I don't know if this is the right forum for this, I couldn't find one better.

    On Wednesday two of our dogs escaped their kennel and ran loose while we were at work. When we got home we couldn't find them by searching or driving around. We tied out two others, hoping the noise from them would draw the first pair home.

    Thursday morning we called animal control in our area and asked them to look out for our dogs - two purebred siberian huskies; a female that was pure white and a male that was sable (red) and white and both with crystal blue eyes. She said she hadn't heard anything but would keep an eye out.

    Just after noon, my wife got a call from animal control saying the dogs had been shot and killed about a mile from home on someone else's land.

    The story we got from animal control and the "game warden" kept changing. First, the owner of the land thought they were rabid coyotes and killed them at night. Next the owner said there were four dogs. Next the owner said our dogs were attacking his livestock. One was chasing a horse and the other was going for his chickens in the barn. We were told they were killed the night before. One dog was shot in the chest (the sable/white male), right through his breastbone. The other was shot in the back of the neck (the pure white female).

    We were asked repeatedly to verify that the dogs were up to date on rabies shots.

    The problems I have with all of this is the following:

    1. These were dogs that were shy of other dogs and people, and if this landower had come out and yelled "Hey!" they would have scattered and run.
    2. I can't fathom our dogs romping with other dogs, and those other dogs getting away from someone that was such a good shot that he killed two dogs with one shot each.
    3. Their bodies were still leaking blood, flexible, and not "refridgerator cold" as I would have expected them to be if they had spent the night in Maine on the ground (it was spitting snow that night).
    4. Why woundn't the land owner have called animal control first thing in the morning after killing dogs?


    It makes me think this guy knew he was shooting someone's pets in broad daylight that morning and just didn't care. There were no chicken carcasses in evidence, no stressed horses around.

    The "game warden" told us that because our dogs were "threatening" (chasing, barking at, or trying to play with) the owner's livestock, the property owner had every right to kill our dogs.

    Is this true?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    28,906

    Default Re: Neighbor Killed Two of Our Dogs on His Land

    Maine has the following statute:
    Quote Quoting Maine Revised Statutes, Title 7, Chapter 727, Sec. 3951. Killing for assault permitted
    Any person may lawfully kill a dog if necessary to protect that person, another person or a domesticated animal during the course of a sudden, unprovoked assault.
    Unfortunately, without witnesses other than the shooter, there's not a good basis to challenge his account of what happened.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Neighbor Killed Two of Our Dogs on His Land

    I appreciate you looking that up.

    I know deep down that there was no way our dogs were involved in a "sudden unprovoked assault" - they were just big happy lugs who loved to run and pull sleds.

    They got out, got lost, and got killed for it.


  4. #4

    Default Re: Neighbor Killed Two of Our Dogs on His Land

    These were dogs that were shy of other dogs and people, and if this landower had come out and yelled "Hey!" they would have scattered and run.
    But LEGALLY, the landowner had no obligation to do so. And if even they ran, he STILL could have put them down if they were on his property, particularly if they had approached him, his other animals or livestock.

    I can't fathom our dogs romping with other dogs, and those other dogs getting away from someone that was such a good shot that he killed two dogs with one shot each.
    But the mechanics of the act, or whether he was a mile away or 2 feet away, so long as the cause of their death wasn't cruel or drawn out to cause suffering, is really not legally relevent. A small comfort perhaps that an effective single shot, from any distance, under any legal circumstance, which this appears to be, ended things quickly. Sure, he could been a real jerk, and knowing he'd only have time to shoot two, chose the two that looked like pets because he was a creep. But he could legally make that choice.

    Their bodies were still leaking blood, flexible, and not "refridgerator cold" as I would have expected them to be if they had spent the night in Maine on the ground (it was spitting snow that night).
    We go back to the same point; that although the time frame may have been off, unless there is some proof that he went off his land or that the shot impacted one of the animals off of his land, it isn't relevent to the outcome that he was within the law to put them down. Even if in broad daylight, and even if he was fully aware that they were pets.

    [*]Why woundn't the land owner have called animal control first thing in the morning after killing dogs?[/LIST]

    Happens all the time. People call animal control when there's a problem to BE solved. For the property owner, this issue had BEEN solved. Lots of people wouldn't have called at all if they'd have taken care of it themselves. In fact, in most jurisdictions, the only real issue is whether or not the discharge of a firearm was permitted within the jurisdiction, for the purpose of dealing with nuisance animals, or any other reason.

    It makes me think this guy knew he was shooting someone's pets in broad daylight that morning and just didn't care. There were no chicken carcasses in evidence, no stressed horses around.
    He's not legally required to wait to see if an actual attack occurs. He also has no obligation to hold off because they appear to be pets.

    The "game warden" told us that because our dogs were "threatening" (chasing, barking at, or trying to play with) the owner's livestock, the property owner had every right to kill our dogs.

    Is this true?[/QUOTE]

    Unfortunately for your dogs, yes. The only legal obligation this property owner had was safely discharge the firearm within the state and local ordinances (ie not shooting over a roadway, not shooting over someone else's property, not shooting at certain animals like deer for depredation purposes without appropriate depredation permits, etc.) - the shooting issue is likely the only reason the warden was involved at all. All other legal obligations fall to the owners to keep them adequately contained.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Neighbor Killed Two of Our Dogs on His Land

    I get it, he was well within his "legal" rights or we'd have actually called a lawyer by now and gotten the police involved.

    I suppose my biggest problem is that throughout the whole thing, it felt like we were being fed lines of BS to make it sound more justified than it was.

    Yes - dogs barking at his chickens on his property means he can kill them. Honestly, I would have reather had the game warden say that than try and string it out into some bizarre falsehood to make it seem like an "accident" that this guy killed our dogs or that his hand was forced.

    Tell it like it is - He knew he could and so he did. He just couldn't be bothered to care and took precious life because he could.

    I can see where the hate in society perpetuates, because it makes me wish his little yapping dogs would find their way to my property some day so I can return the favor. Problem is, even if they were huge dogs, I wouldn't shoot them. I'd risk being mauled and wrestle them into submission if it meant I didn't have to kill them.

    I suppose the law keeps people from being complete insensate evil and just draws the line at "cruel" while never asking for "good" out of them. Sticking to the letter of the law doesn't make you a good person, it just makes you a passable citizen. :sigh:

  6. #6

    Default Re: Neighbor Killed Two of Our Dogs on His Land

    Your observations are sadly true - we can legislate human actions only so far - which is often a very far cry from legislating morality, common sense, or requirements for compassion.

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