Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Use Of Force To Defend Yourself

There have been numerous court cases defining the proper use of a dog for police work.

I think anyone who is working on a proposed dog bite law should examine these precedents.

There are times when it is appropriate for your dog to bite someone. The courts have recognized the value in using a dog against criminals.

Here is a web page with some interesting case analyses.

Some interesting concepts worth evaluating:

a.) Use of force continuum
b.) Use of a dog is not considered deadly force
c.) Definition of negligent training

None of this is indication that the courts are hostile to dogs being used to defend against criminals. In fact, it is an endorsement of the role of dogs in crime fighting, and helps show us the way to define the appropriate deployment of our own personal dogs in an emergency situation when facing a criminal.

Because, when the police aren’t there to protect you from a crime (and when are they ever on the spot at the time an attack takes place on anyone…?) it might just come down to you and your dog.

I think the logical conclusion would be you could use a dog for self protection when faced with:

a.) the immediate threat of trespass, terrorist crime, bodily harm or death would cause the dog handler to feel the need to actively and physically defend themselves;
b.) the suspect is engaged in a crime;
c.) a warning is given to the criminal before the dog is sent to bite.

I think a homeowner’s, or citizen’s, dog should be held to a lower standard of training than a police officer’s dog. A police officer has more tools at hand to deal with, and fight against, a criminal than a citizen. Thus, the situation is more dangerous to the citizen than the police officer. As a result, the claim of “excessive force” should be exempted when the above criteria are met before a dog is actively sent on a criminal by a citizen.

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