Asked in Animal / Dog Law for North Carolina

Q: Is it legal to shoot someones livestock for destroying a garden?

An officer told my neighbors to shoot my calf, sheep and goat that got out of their pen and into my neighbor's vegetable garden. This has happened just the one time.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Kristina M. Bergsten
Kristina M. Bergsten
  • Animal & Dog Law Lawyer
  • Denver, CO

A: This is a tough question. A person can shoot a dog for attacking his livestock. A person can shoot a wild animal for eating his crops. I've never encountered this particular situation before. I would argue that shooting your livestock for eating from a personal vegetable garden is not legal and likely to constitute animal cruelty and damages to you for the loss of value of your livestock. A person cannot shoot an animal merely for trespassing. All that said, it sounds like your neighbor is unstable and it would be in your and your livestocks' best interest to fence them in or keep a very watchful eye if fencing is not possible.

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