Killing a Vicious Dog Must Not Be Prosecuted As a Crime

In Accrington, the city north of Manchester, England, two bullmastiffs that inflicted “life changing” injuries to a teenager where held at bay by 60 riot police for 24 hours before the dogs were finally tranquilized and destroyed. The owner of the dogs was arrested on suspicion of possessing a banned dog. (For the article,¬†click here.)

The issue this raises is how carefully the authorities and victims of dog attacks must treat vicious dogs. I have been involved in a number of cases where vicious dogs that injured people were killed on the spot. In some cases the person doing the killing was regarded as a hero, while in others even police officers found themselves under investigation for animal cruelty.

Years ago if you killed a burglar in your home you still could be the subject of a murder investigation, until in many places laws were passed stating that it was presumed that you were acting reasonably in self-defense. The same assumption should apply when any person kills a dog within a reasonable time after the dog behaved viciously.

It is a well-known fact that police are too busy chasing criminals to also chase dogs, and that there are only a minuscule number of animal control officers throughout the entire country. Citizens have to protect themselves and their families and their communities from vicious dogs. There should be no fear of being prosecuted when a person does this. And no community should have to employ 60 riot police for 24 hours of overtime to kill vicious dogs that tried to murder a teenager.