Monday, February 17, 2014

Rural Dog Wars Part 5 - Know Your State's Laws

Own livestock?  You need to know your state's laws protecting them against dog attacks.

I can't overemphasize this one.  The world has gone mad and ANY time there's a high profile story where a dog is shot in defense of man, woman, child or any critter, the comment sections are FILLED with folks calling for the shooter to be arrested an animal cruelty charges.

After all, the doggie was just playin', don'tcha know.

It's about then I think two thoughts.

One - "I hate EVERYTHING"

and Two - "We're ALL  DOOMED"

but nevermind my depression, let's talk about Dog Laws, shall we?

The State of Washington has some pretty good ones, actually, and they're all on-line, so that's helpful.

Here's the whole lot of them, if you wish to peruse 'em.  I'm only going to comment on the first three, as they have to do with dogs going after livestock.

Revised Code of Washington 16.08.010

"Liability for injury to stock by dogs.

The owner or keeper of any dog shall be liable to the owner of any animal killed or injured by such dog for the amount of damages sustained and costs of collection, to be recovered in a civil action."

Great law, don't you think?  I don't know a single person whose been able to collect damages under this law.  Not the woman whose horse was attacked under her while taking a break at the Nisqually River, or the guy who had two pitbulls attack and nearly kill his two dogs while he was taking them ON LEASH for a run, not folks who have lost or had to repair sheep, chickens, horses, calves mauled by dogs.

I'm guessing that's why the old time lawyers gave us this one:


Dogs injuring stock may be killed.

It shall be lawful for any person who shall see any dog or dogs chasing, biting, injuring or killing any sheep, swine or other domestic animal, including poultry, belonging to such person, on any real property owned or leased by, or under the control of, such person, or on any public highway, to kill such dog or dogs, and it shall be the duty of the owner or keeper of any dog or dogs so found chasing, biting or injuring any domestic animal, including poultry, upon being notified of that fact by the owner of such domestic animals or poultry, to thereafter keep such dog or dogs in leash or confined upon the premises of the owner or keeper thereof, and in case any such owner or keeper of a dog or dogs shall fail or neglect to comply with the provisions of this section, it shall be lawful for the owner of such domestic animals or poultry to kill such dog or dogs found running at large."

This is the meat of the law.  See a dog even CHASING your stock, and you can kill it.  Of course, you have to be in the right place at the right time and ARMED.

I'm pretty sure this isn't the right place, however, as you'll likely get charged with endangement if you started shooting at a dog chasing one of these sheep, however.

This farm, btw, is set in Orting, on some of the best farming soil in the state of Washington.  Unfortunately, it's in high demand for housing, so many farms like this one, are now kinds of rural oasis in the middle of apartment complexes.

Anyway, my favorite part of this law is the second piece.  If you can find the damned owners and tell them their damned dog has been chasing your animals, AND they're too damned stupid to keep it penned up afterward, you can shot it anywhere you see if off leash off their property.

I'm so hoping my neighbors dog gets onto my property again and I can get a shot off.  :)

And here's the most interesting piece of the law


Marauding dog — Duty of owner to kill.

It shall be the duty of any person owning or keeping any dog or dogs which shall be found killing any domestic animal to kill such dog or dogs within forty-eight hours after being notified of that fact, and any person failing or neglecting to comply with the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and it shall be the duty of the sheriff or any deputy sheriff to kill any dog found running at large (after the first day of August of any year and before the first day of March in the following year) without a metal identification tag."

This one says, I tell you that your poochie has just killed my chickens, rabbits, sheep, whatever, and YOU get to kill your poochie within 48 hours or SOMEBODY's going to cite you with a misdemeanor.

Bet you dollars to dugouts that this law hasn't been enforce in over 50 years.

And the second half is better.  The Sheriff is REQUIRED to KILL any loose dog without a license.

Yeah, that happens all the time.(snort)

These are, actually, good laws, despite the fact that the first is nearly impossible to enforce, the second is difficult and the third is never enforced.

The biggest problems is, nobody knows them, least of all Animal Control.  If you call AC about a dog attacking your livestock, they absolutely WILL NOT advise the owner of the law.  You can forget that last law, they've never even heard of it, and they get rather annoyed when you start quoting the law to them, for some reason.

The Sheriff will, however, as he really is an officer of the law. This is why in states that explicitly allow you to shoot dogs worrying stock, Shoot, Shovel and Shut-up is the last thing you want to do.  You really want these idiots to know you have every legal right to kill their animals.  They'll be less likely to get new poochie to take it's place AND they'll bitch about you to the neighbors and maybe, just maybe, they'll be more careful with THEIR poochies.

Unfortunately, there's retaliation, and that's why you want THEM to call the Sheriff.

Walt's sage advise - give your neighbors a call sayin'  "You're going to want to call the Sheriff as I just shot your dog for attacking my livestock".  They can argue with HIM and get the law straight from the source.

So yes, my friends, if I had the money and the time, I'd protect my livestock like a Rhino in Africa, but I don't have either, most of us don't.

I do have a bit of a dream, however.  That dream is that the doggie licensing agencies would send out a brief "Know Your Legal Obligations as a Pet Owner" pamphlet with each and every license issued or renewed.  This would cover leash law, barking law, as well as biting and livestock laws.

Just a little dream, but a dream nonetheless.


  1. I did recover my losses plus a good bit left over after my horse was attacked by a pit bull in a public park. It took nearly three years. The lawsuit was never about money, it was about responsible behavior. When I got the check I made a donation to a local horse rescue group equal to the vet bills. The rest is in the bank, how many horses have money in the bank? This is not likely to happen in the future, insurance is no longer required for pit bulls in my state.

    1. I applaud your victory and your willingness to put the time in to get it.

      IMHO, insurance should be required for all dog ownership. Let the actuaries decide the premiums per breed.

  2. "It shall be the duty of any person owning or keeping any dog or dogs which shall be found killing any domestic animal to kill such dog or dogs within forty-eight hours after being notified of that fact."


    "And the second half is better. The Sheriff is REQUIRED to KILL any loose dog without a license."

    impressive. washignton is the second state i have seen this law. the first is iowa, except i believe the responsibility falls on private citizens not just LE.

    One - "I hate EVERYTHING"

    and Two - "We're ALL DOOMED"

    yep, i concur.

  3. In Missouri a dog worrying or killing stock can be shot on sight, also the dog owner (if found) is responsible for paying the stock owner for any damages done by the dogs. That part is enforced in my county. On the other hand, it's illegal to shoot a dog that is just on your property. Even if it's chasing deer during deer season. arg I am a dog lover and I have dogs, but they stay in the house and/or yard, unless they are with me or my husband. They don't run loose on my farm or any of the surrounding farms.

  4. You are a sick son of a bitch. You want someone to kill a family pet, a member of their family, just because they act as dogs do and chased your stupid livestock that you slaughter anyways?

    Rot in hell, with the rest of the crazy pyschopaths.

    1. My wife and I had a farm in Rhode Island for 12 years. Fortunately, none of our animals was killed or injured by a dog. State law permits the killing of any dog worrying stock. Anyone letting a dog out to roam is a totally irresponsible owner; and do you really expect the livestock owner to do nothing except watch your dog terrorize, injure, or kill his stock? Out west, the sheep owners have a motto in the case of a marauding dog: "shoot, shovel, and shut up."