MONTGOMERY, ILLINOIS — A history of violence is how one dog is being characterized following a summary execution levied upon it in a nearby park. According to police, a homeowner overlooking a Boulder Hill park saw a dog acting aggressively towards another dog. He came out with his legally owned and permitted concealed carry pistol and shot the offending dog, protecting the German Shepard leashed to a bystander. When sheriffs from Kendall County arrived, the man unloaded his firearm and handed it over to them.
Animal Control reported that the slain dog had previous arrest records and his owner had been given citations regarding his behavior on multiple occasions. One such prior incident, as the Chicago Tribune pointed out, was for a biting incident and there were two others related to its lack of a rabies tag and running around at-large.
In this case, the concealed carrier definitely came to the aid of a person and her animal. There’s little doubt about that. And he definitely acted responsibly in handing over his unloaded firearm to law enforcement upon their arrival. The only remaining question — was he in the right for stepping in and inserting himself into that conflict?
There’s two trains of thought regarding this. In the first, when you see someone or her property being actively assaulted, you have no requirement to act on her behalf in her defense. That said, the application of deadly force on another person’s property (“the dog with a criminal history”) also warrants some reflection.
While this case is likely to be dismissed in terms of any criminal wrongdoing, there is still the possibility for civil litigation — arguably as menacing as criminal charges once all the fees get stacked up. Not to mention, this concealed carrier’s gun is likely caught up in civil forfeiture proceedings. That’s a complete loss of a firearm in a state where you have to go through a pretty ridiculous process to obtain one legally.
Knowing the difference between a moral obligation to intercede on behalf of the defense of another person and the ramifications of that intercession are paramount for any gun owner willing to do so. It’s not always the fear of criminal repercussions that we need to be worried about. The real threat can often times be obscured in lengthy, costly civil proceedings.