Minneapolis, MN asked in Animal / Dog Law, Personal Injury and Criminal Law for Minnesota

Q: I am MN licensed to carry a firearm. Can I shoot an unleashed dog in defense for attacking me or my leashed dog?

If I am in public within the city limits in any of the Metro area cities.

2 Lawyer Answers
Thomas C Gallagher
Thomas C Gallagher
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Minneapolis, MN
  • Licensed in Minnesota

A: Not without legal risk. As lawyers we consider how the law may apply to hypothetical facts (1) in the past; and (2) in the future. When the case is being litigated in court, it's almost always about the past. Past facts can't be changed, though we may have problems of proof. On the other hands, future facts can often be changed by making choices. In general, people want to reduce legal risk by making careful choices in the present and in the future. Shooting a dog in a metro city could result in several different criminal charges. If that happened, the accused may be able to assert defenses like self-defense. The right to defense of a dog may be dramatically reduced compared to defense of a person. If preparing for the future, some lower-level-of-force options might be employed, such as pepper spray or a collapsible baton.

Jonathan Matthew Holson
Jonathan Matthew Holson
Answered
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Rogers, MN
  • Licensed in Minnesota

A: You would generally have an obligation to flee or leave the situation. So your first option cannot be to shoot the dog. It is a bad idea. The better idea is to avoid this particular animal.

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