The Most Common Defensive Shootings – That Go Unreported

By Dean Weingarten

The Most Common Defensive Shootings - That Go Unreported
The Most Common Defensive Shootings – That Go Unreported
Dean Weingarten
Dean Weingarten

Arizona – -( An enormous number of defensive shootings are not included in the data about defensive gun use.

These are the shootings of animals, not in defense of people; those are often reported.  No, they are defensive shootings of animals in defense of other animals, and often crops or other property.  In defense of animals, the species most often shot are dogs.

There are occasional cries of outrage when someone has to shoot a dog in order to save another animal.  They usually come from people who have no conception of reality outside their apartment or suburban home.  These people seem to live in a bubble where, in their mind, dogs never do anything wrong, and they should always live wonderful lives where someone else has to pay for their owner's irresponsibility, and the damages the dogs cause.

People do not like to shoot dogs.  People do not like to pay taxes or get up every morning and go to work.  People do these things because they need to be done.  Here are some examples of dogs that were shot by people who had to.  They never made the news; they only came to my attention because responsible people tried to educate naive folks who seem to believe that the world is, or can be, perfect.

From CoosaTotah at Ammoland:

I am a disabled veteran. I held eight military occupational skills, one of which was animal technician(91T). One of my overseas stations was in Vietnam were I was with the Dog training Detachment in Bien Hoa and later at the 936th Veterinary Hospital. Dogs are my life. My username is the name of one of my service dogs that past away about three years ago at 14 years of age. I had him since he was 2 months old.

On the fourth of January a dog, a pit bull, jumped my 5 foot fence and attacked one of my goats. I walked right up to my goat and the dog and shined my flashlight right into the dog’s face. He refused to let go of my goat. He kept trying to pull the goat in an opposite direction away from me. I did not know the dog. I did not want to kick or hit the dog because I could become the victim of the dog’s attack. I was left with one option. I drew my firearm and shot the dog at point blank range. I did not want to do it. I did everything except coming directly between the dog and the object of his attack, my goat. It had to be done to save my goat and protect myself. A police report was filed.

Within less than a minute after I shot a truck pulls into my yard. Apparently they saw my flashlight shining around the goat pasture. A man got out and asked “have you seen a dog”. He said it was his wife’s dog and she had just let the dog out to do it’s business. A pet, a house dog. And now it was dead because outside of it’s home it had become an aggressive, ferocious animal intent on killing livestock.

If only they had come just 60 seconds sooner. I did not like shooting the dog. I have had many dogs wonder through my place. I have had a few that even challenged me and I would put my hand on my firearm, but, they would finally run off and I would relax. But, this is the first one that I was forced to shoot. Why couldn’t the owners have shown up just 60 seconds prior? I saw many bullet and explosive wounds in Vietnam and other places. I can still see the bullet wounds, and the fatal wound on this dog. A forever mental picture that I can not get rid of.

From neal kluba:

 When I was a kid my dad was also placed in this position as well. We, however, did lose one calf and had a cow get her leg pretty torn up as well. I remember dad crying as he is a dog lover as well, My prayers go out to this poor guy.

From USocnom

My Aunt and Uncle run a large Dairy Farm in Wisconsin. They lost 2 calves and a goat that had to be put down to the attack by their neighbors dogs. 3 mix breed labs. The county took them did there test and gave them back. 3 days later 63 stitches to my Aunts horse. One was dead and other ones taken and liquidated. This was 3 year ago. They are still fighting for reimbursement for damages caused by their dogs. Keep your dogs under control or this happens.

From SoCalApril:

I love animals more than people – however – has anyone ever seen a dog attack farm animals??? Ever seen a dog eat a chicken alive, or worse yet, two dogs attack a cow or calf??? I doubt it, because if you had, you would ASK someone to shoot the dogs – imagine the sound that a normal cow or calf make, now picture two dogs eating that animal from the hoof up, it is horrifying, and NO it isn't like you can run up and shoo away two dogs in the middle of an attack. And yes – labs do attack. These dogs are dead because of the owner that doesn't care if other animals die over his lack of fencing.

These are the stories that do not make the news. They do not because no law was broken by the shooters.  At most, it is a civil matter that no one thinks worth reporting, and no one puts pictures of the aftermath on a Facebook post.

But, they are very, very, common. People in rural areas are far more likely to shoot animals in defense of other animals or of property than they are likely to even brandish a firearm at another person. There are few people in rural areas who will not tell you of shooting animals for defense of other animals or of their property.

None of these shootings are counted in the totals of defensive uses of firearms in the surveys. If they were, the defensive use statistics would be many millions more per year.

c2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included. Link to Gun Watch

About Dean Weingarten;

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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Thanks, Dean, for using my comment to try to get the word out. We love dogs. We do not have any desire to shoot dogs. BUT, people who do not protect and take proper care of their dogs put their own dogs in harms way out of neglect. The dog is only reacting with the instinct that nature gave it, it is the owners fault for what ever befalls an unkept dog by not being a good and proper caretaker.


It’s very true, dog attacks are more common than you think. When I was young, my toy fox terrier was ripped to shreds by a golden retriever. This was my neighbors dog. All it had to do was leave that house and it became a violent animal. Another time, my friend when he was 6 years old was viciously attacked by one of his own dogs for getting too close to the dogs food. It’s quite astonishing to know that dogs can turn feral at a moments notice.


Gun-Grabbers don’t care. They will acknowledge your points and then say something akin to “you don’t need an assault rifle to defend against animals”. It matters not how irrefutable the argument is, it’s going to fall on deaf ears. Until the GCA and NFA are fully and *righteously* repealed, the Federal Govt will always be used as justification for further federal over-reach, as well as a bludgeon against lawful gun owners. For as long as the GCA/NFA are held to be constitutional, then so will any other Federal firearm law when it comes to outlawing a “feature”, cartridge, or an… Read more »


My family ranches in South Texas, and our ranch starts about 5 miles out of town. We have to shoot dogs on a regular basis. People will drive out of town to dump dogs they no longer want, and most will slowly starve to death. Some of the dogs will revert to their natural instincts though, and begin killing livestock in an effort to stay alive, which is no fault of theirs. But it’s left to us to deal with. We lose thousands of dollars worth of sheep and goats, to former pets, every year. And that’s assuming we would… Read more »