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20150203 Pitbull

Dog Shot And Killed After Attacking Puppy And Man

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LOWER PAXTON TOWNSHIP, PENNSYLVANIA — An unfortunate story this week out of Pennsylvania proves that not all threats come in the form of street thugs and home invaders.

When an “at large” pit bull attacked a man and the bystanders who attempted to help him, a neighbor stepped up to protect those under attack and fatally shot the vicious dog.

Like most states, Pennsylvania allows the use of a firearm in defense of others to protect them in any situation which would allow the victim to use a firearm in their own defense.

As of the writing of this article, Pennsylvania law reads:

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“The use of force upon or toward the person of another is justifiable to protect a third person when: (1)  the actor would be justified … in using such force to protect himself against the injury he believes to be threatened to the person whom he seeks to protect; (2)  under the circumstances as the actor believes them to be, the person whom he seeks to protect would be justified in using such protective force; and (3)  the actor believes that his intervention is necessary for the protection of such other person.”

Though the law specifically addresses threats from other persons and not really applicable to the use of firearms against animals, sensible states with similar laws allow the use of a firearm to protect third parties when they are in danger of serious injury or death.

Not all states, however, honor the “defense of others” concept as broadly as Pennsylvania. Some require that the protector have a “special relationship” with the victim in order to legally protect him or her with a firearm.

As with all issues concerning the carrying of a firearm, it’s vitally important that you know the law.  Visit your state’s legislature or Attorney General’s website to find out how it applies to you. And if you don’t understand what you read, be sure to contact an attorney.

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About R. Erin | View all posts by R. Erin

Erin is proud veteran, having served as a Cavalry Scout in the US Army. He manages an ammunition manufacturing facility and is an NRA-certified and Kansas concealed carry instructor. He…

Erin is proud veteran, having served as a Cavalry Scout in the US Army. He manages an ammunition manufacturing facility and is an NRA-certified and Kansas concealed carry instructor. He carries his Glock 43 every day in a custom-made IWB Kydex holster.

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  • bama

    there are a lot of loose dogs around here… I carry o/c spray for dogs but never had to use it. mostly in case the owner is present, I would rather use spray, than shoot it and piss off the owner and have to shoot him too.

    • Reptiles Rule The World

      Hope your aim ours good. Relying on spray to stop a dog running twards you is a bad idea.

  • Reptiles Rule The World

    What a stupid law.
    Sorry ma’am I can’t save you as we don’t have a special relationship.
    Who elects these idiots (rhetorical question).

  • Thomas

    I wouldn’t think this type of use of force laws come into play at all in this instance. The law talks about the use of force on people. “The use of force upon or toward the person of another” Wouldn’t this fall under some sort of discharge-of-firearm or possibly animal cruelty laws? And just to be clear, yes, that dog needed to be shot.