TOLEDO, OHIO — A 7-year-old girl was taken to the hospital after she sustained multiple wounds to her face from an apparent dog attack. During the incident, her caregiver attempted to wrestle control of the dog but failed. A bystander heard the screams of the child and responded to the scene in possession of a handgun. After seeing the caregiver repeatedly fail to get the girl away from the dog, the bystander shot at the dog four times — striking it at least once.
The dog released the girl and the caregiver got her to safety. According to the Toledo Blade, animal control took custody of the dog. The man complied with requests from police and he is not currently facing any charges in connection to the shooting.
This is one of those tense situations where a gun owner responds to the sounds of a screaming child and finds himself locked in a tough situation. While the accuracy of a gun isn’t really in question, firing in close proximity to an innocent victim is pretty nerve-wracking.
It appears that the only way to get the dog to give up the child was to shoot it. In that case, judicious marksmanship on a small, wiggling target holding another small wiggling victim is nothing to balk at.
Thankfully, the child was able to be rescued from the dog and taken to a hospital where she will undoubtedly have some tell-tale scars from the attack. It’s unknown if the dog was rabid or simply out-of-control. There is no word on the whereabouts of the owner of the dog but police will likely find out those details and act accordingly.
In another story, we wrote about the tragic shooting death of a dog as it wandered onto another man’s property. In this case, we see a dog getting shot attacking a child. The common theme here is regarding dogs as personal property and taking responsibility for their whereabouts.
Now, in the story where the dog wandered onto a neighbor’s property, there’s room to consider the situation and act accordingly. So long as the dog is not expressing overt aggression or trying to attack anyone, it’s pretty likely that the situation can be resolved without any animal getting shot. With a child in the mix, it’s an incredibly hard scenario to judge.
If the dog has rabies, engaging it at close range with a blunt object can often exacerbate the situation. Even an aggressive non-rabid dog can do some very significant damage to a fully grown adult if that adult isn’t prepared properly.
I’m not in a position to advise which way you should go if you encounter this situation. The best I can advise is that you do what you feel is best and hopefully, if you decide to use a gun, judicious marksmanship is top priority in your mind.