My neighbor shot my dog today, is that legal?

My dog goes swimming in our neighbors ponds (she's a full blood lab), and all of them have cows. She never bothers the cows, just goes swimming. Today my neighbor shot our dog through the neck and killed her. He lied and said that she was running his cows. Irregardless, isn't there some law that he should have to contact us 1st and give us the chance to go get her before he shoots her? I'm so angry and upset right now I can't see straight. We called the sheriff and he said they couldn't do anything because she was on his property. I can't believe thats true.

Asked by Member 769900 on Nov 18th 2008 Tagged animal, protection, rights in Other Laws & Legislation
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Actually it is legal to shoot a dog on your property...Whether or not your dog was chasing the cattle is relevant would be your word against his & he was there so they'd have to take his word.
I live in the country & this possibility is why my dogs live behind fences when outside.
It is your responsibility to keep your dog confined.
I am sorry this happened.

Member 73926 answered on 11/18/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


It is legal.
I'm so sorry fur you.
It would be safe to keep a tie-out stake outside or have a fenced yard.
I understand someone could get mad that a dog is swimming in their pond, but why kill?
I sometimes don't get humans...

Max answered on 11/18/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

In Memory of Miss Clover Louis

It most likely depends on where you live.
This is terribly sad! I am so sorry for you and your dog. Most towns do not permit dogs to be on others property, however I do not see how shooting would be legal. It would be animal cruelty. You should check with your local authorities.

In Memory of Miss Clover Louis answered on 11/18/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Shiloh Bear I understand that it makes you angry (I think it makes us all angry), but there is no reason to cuss, there are younger kids on the website.

Now to your question, yes it is legal to shoot a dog, just like Pippin said. I don't even think they have to do anything? Just if they are on your property, you have the right. Of course, I'm sure it varies from place to place so you might want to read up on local and state laws on that subject.

I'm terribly sorry on what happened to your dog. Learn from it though and if you get another dog, make sure it is contained to your property whether or not you think what it is doing is harmless.

Baby Girl

Member 393929 answered on 11/18/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


I am so sorry this happened but I have to agree and say it is legal for him to do this. Regardless of what your dog was doing she should not have been on his property without his permission. My brother-in-law is a diary farmer and as much as it upsets me he would not think twice about shooting the neighbors dog. He would never risk one of his cows or calves getting hurt or stressed out by a dog that doesn't belong on his property. Again I am sorry.

♥ DEOGIE ♥ answered on 11/18/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer

Cookies 'n' Creme (1998-2011)

Unfortunately it is...I'm so sorry for your loss...

Cookies 'n' Creme (1998-2011) answered on 11/18/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


It would be very helpful if you told us which state and county you live in, because different places have different laws.

In many parts of the United States, it is perfectly legal for a livestock owner to shoot a dog that is trespassing onto his property. Dogs that are running at large are a big problem for many livestock farmers because they can frighten livestock and cause them to get injured, they may attack them, or they may simply create a nuisance.

Also, please note that most areas have laws regarding dogs running at large. If you permit your dog to run loose on someone else's property, then you are breaking those laws. You're letting your dog roam and be a nuisance to someone else, trespassing and possibly causing injury to a farmer's livestock.

I think it's horrible that he would shoot your dog instead of calling you to come and get her, but in the end, it's your fault for letting the dog roam.

Abby answered on 11/18/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer

Bam-Bam, CGC

Unfortunately, everybody is right. Your dog, your responsibility. If she was running at large on his property and he felt she was a danger to his livestock (whether or not she actually was) then he legally had the right to protect his property.
Is it morally right? No... But if the neighbor was angry enough that he simply shot her without coming to tell ya'll, I question how great your relationship was with him to begin with and whether this had been a recurrent thing.
I think its important to understand that leash laws exist not only for the safety of the public, but also for the safety of the dog. In the past month I have seen 5 dogs hit on the road on my way to work. I find myself disgusted because if someone would simply take the time to put their dog on a tie or in a kennel in the yard, or train it to have boundaries, this wouldn't happen. These dogs die because of the carelessness of the owners, plain and simple. I hope next time you won't be allowing your pets to run lose.

Bam-Bam, CGC answered on 11/19/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


I am so very sorry to hear about your dog. I hate to say it, but sadley enough, there is not much you can do about it. The dog was on his property, and it shouldnt have been there. It doesnt matter if she was chasing the cows or not. I know that is terrible, and I hate that its legal, but it is. All anyone will tell you is that you should have kept your dog in your yard. My guess is, this wasnt the first time your dog had been in his ponds. You can try calling a lawyer, but I really dont think you can do anything about it. Did he at least let you pick her up so you could bury her or cremate her? I hope he at least did that. Your poor doggie. Any other neighbor would have been nice enough to at least call you, he seems like a jerk.

Ace answered on 11/23/08. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

Princess Bella Roxie

No, I don't believe that it is legal. I believe you could have been fined, but not that your dog was shot. Sound like to me that you Sherriff was just lazy and didn't want to deal with it. Check local, county and state laws. New York, Texas, Miami, Michigan off the top of my head have strict laws about such abuse of an innocent animal. Your sherrif should count his lucky stars he isn't dealing with me. I would campaign to make sure there was a new sherrif in town.. Good luck and let me know what happens. By the way, yes I can't spell.

Princess Bella Roxie answered on 1/5/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


I am very sorry for your loss. This situation happend to us yesterday. Our 5lb. puppy got into our neighbor's yard and "scared his goat" so he shot him.:( he never gave us the chance to remedy the situation, just took our puppy's life.Our dog lived with live stock, he was no threat to them and, as I mentioned, he only weighed 5 pounds!!!! I was devistated to find out that the police don't care. I am going to file a report at the station anyway and take this horrible person to court. Not that this will do any good, but what else can I do?
Anyway, I just wanted you to know there is someone out here who feels your pain.

P.S. I reported this slime bag to PETA.

Member 795955 answered on 1/23/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Legal or not, it still hurts. As much as it is the responsibility of the dog owner to have the dog in his/her yard, I believe the person shooting the dog must also take responsibilty. Heartbroken, this issue has become close to me in the past few days.

I take responsibility for Maxx but feel that we should have been notified and allowed to dispose of his remains. At least to give my daughter, and my family, closure.

Member 807119 answered on 2/21/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer



JUSTICEFORBABYBOY answered on 3/8/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer

Dr. Watson

Sure she shouldn't have let her dog swim on the neighbor's property. Should have talked to him & seen he was against it. But there is absolutely no reason for people to call her a moron! Sometimes dogs escape despite the best intentions. We're not all perfect, nor are our dogs.

My dogs stop wild dogs & coyotes from coming on my property & messing with my sheep. When we were on vacation, the neighbor's brother's dog attacked 2 of my rams. Ate chunks out of them! 1 lived & 1 died, despite greatbvet care. His brother was so afraid we would want his dog euthanized. We said, sometimes that happens, keep him crated or inside while you're here. He offered to pay the vet bill -- we let him, but didn't charge the value of the livestock.

I haven't complained when the other neighbor's cows got in our yard when his fence broke. He hasn't complained on the rare occasion my dog went over there. My dog doesn't chase livestock.
What do you do when his cows come over to your yard?
So sorry 4 ur loss

Dr. Watson answered on 3/24/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Yes i cant imagine what sick person would do that to such a good dog. my grandma had to put her lapso apsoo down because a kid was jumping fences and he niped at the kid some people are cold hearted spawns of the devil that dont care about any one but them selves oh gosh i sound like my other grandma now but any ways im srry about your dog.

Member 842483 answered on 6/2/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


funny how states differ, we live on 10 acres in minnesota we have put up with a yellow lab coming in our yard, crapping on our SIDEWALK, eating our dog and cat food, and to top it off he has also given us 3 litters of puppies via our 15 year old farm dog, who basically doesnt leave the front steps...This has gone on over 2-3 years, we have called the owners over 10 times to come and get there dog ,only to have the dog return the next day.
In May this dog once again was in out yard my husband threw rocks and yelled at him with no luck, the dog actually decided to CRAP in the sandbox that my 3 year old was sitting in! My husband proceeded to shoot him with a pellet gun to scare not kill...the dog went into our neighbors yard and died. the neighbor called the cops we are now Being sued by the state for FELONY animal cruelty, we had to get a lawyer ($7,000) and have court soon...We love our animals we take good care of them, they stay in our yard..not sure why WE are the ones in trouble?

Member 853221 answered on 7/9/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Wait doesnt that count as animal abusement? Thats just F***ed up man.

Member 857182 answered on 8/20/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


my dog was just shot 2 hours ago with a BBgun and i looked online for an answer for my legal questions. i found such different responses that i decided to call my local police, which i suggest to anyone because the laws are different for each county.

my local law says that shooting a dog on your porperty is a crime. it is INTENT TO DO HARM TO PERSONAL PROPERTY. the police came to my house and i filled out a form and the officer went to knock on some doors to find out who shot my dog. when the culprit is found they will be arrested.


Member 900387 answered on 10/12/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I'm so sorry about this! I know it hurts but I can't belive they would say it's legal. I think it was terrible for your neighbor to lie like that to you. Im so sorry!
(Sonny, you don't have to cuss. Little kids sometimes go on here and I don't think it's apporpriate to use those words)

Sunny answered on 11/29/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Ever heard the old saying "don't throw stones at your neighbor if your own windows are made of glass"?

It was probably legal for your neighbor to shoot your dog. If the dog was in the swimming pool and otherwise doing no harm, it was immoral (although legal) for the neighbor to shoot the dog. The guy is obviously a jerk, so maybe you should bide your time and when HIS dog comes on YOUR property, take your shotgun out and fill the dog full of holes.

I suspect the neighbor will get the message. If he says anything, then remind him that HE is the one who started this mess, and you will be more than happy to finish it.

I suspect your neighbor will put his brains in gear before engaging gun on dog next time.

Member 939104 answered on 1/17/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


It should be illegal but it isnt and i like how everybody says its fine its your fault but if there dog got shot they would be pissed, its animal crulety. The law is bogus where you can shoot a helpless dog whats the difference between Michael Vick having dog fights and killing dogs your neighbor shoots dogs same thing. So he should go to jail its murder. The laws should be the same in all states were America arent we? Or are we different?Whats the difference between Michael Vick and your neighbor there both animal killers.Can anybody anwser that?

Member 964550 answered on 2/15/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


i'm so so sorry, but yes, it is legal for your neighbor to shoot your dog as long as the dog is not on your property. oh and by the way, what kind of neighbor do you have? he sounds like a dickhead.

Joey answered on 8/20/10. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


the uk law is, i know, some idiot farmer killed my dog worth £2000.

In brief the law is:
1. A farmer commits a criminal offence in threatening to shoot a dog, and also in actually shooting a dog, unless he honestly believed his livestock was 'in immediate need of protection' and that ‘the means of protection adopted or proposed to be adopted were or would be reasonable having regard to all the circumstances’. So where shouting, throwing something or shooting over the head would be enough, then that is what should be done first to avoid committing an offence. (Criminal Damage Act 1971).

2. The dog owner can sue the farmer for compensation, and his only defence to killing a dog is he believed and had reasonable grounds for that belief, that either 'there was no other reasonable means of ending or preventing the worrying' or if the owner is not there, that ‘there was no practicable means of ascertaining to whom it belongs’. He must also have reported the shooting to the police within 48 hours. The dog owner has 6 years in which to bring an action for compensation. Some dogs are highly valuable. (Animals Act 1971).

3. The dog owner commits an offence if (a) their dog is in a field with livestock worrying them, Worrying means attacking livestock, or chasing livestock in such a way as may reasonably be expected to cause injury or suffering to the livestock or, in the case of females, abortion, or loss of or diminution in their produce; or (b) their dog is not under control in a field with sheep, even if he was not worrying them, but a police dog, a guide dog, trained sheep dog, a working gun dog or a pack of hounds are all excluded. (Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953).

Member 1023972 answered on 2/19/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Why would you let your dog onto your neighbor's property? You acknowledge the fact that your dog was trespassing, yet think it is no big deal. As the sheriff already informed you, your neighbor was well within his right to shoot your dog.

People on this site keep referring to the farmer as an "idiot" farmer. Is he an idiot just because he is trying to protect his property? Dogs chasing cows is a big deal and a farmer/rancher should not have to live with it. I also have this problem with dogs on my property during deer season.

If you did not want your dog to die, you should have taken measures to keep your dog on your own property. Your dog's death is all on your hands. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Member 1043723 answered on 8/6/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


i know your neighbor sucks.

Member 1061980 answered on 10/7/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Its legal almost everywhere if your neighbor is protecting livestock ,if he owns 1 chicken,duck or goat.I do not condone this but people love other animals as much you love your dog.I have dogs and livestock and have shot between a dogs feet to get him leave my ducks alone he ran off uninjured .but if he acted aggressive i would have shot him before i let him kill my ducks.I have no close neighbors and have no idea who owns this pit bull dog but if they love him they need to keep him put up.I raised pit bulls for 12 years and they never got lose there is no excuse for this.

Member 1120692 answered on 7/14/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I know this happened a while ago (years) but I am just seeing it now. I love my dog, he gets tied up outside and when it's time for free run I take him to the local Dog Park.

However, if it were legal in my area I would shoot a nuisance dog in a heartbeat. My yard backs onto a school yard and there are several thoughtless dog owners who think it is perfectly okay to let their pets run rampet on the school yard where our children play. These people drive their animals to the school and let them loose. Remember I said there is a local Dog Park to do this in.

So far the AUTHORITIES have done nothing to stop it.

Sometimes what you think is right or okay is still just WRONG and if you really love your pets look after them and keep them from becoming a pest to others.

Thank you for reading this.

Member 1149616 answered on 1/12/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


keep your dog off other people's property. I would have shot that bitch too if I caught it in my pond.

Member 1152799 answered on 1/30/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Unlike some of the others on here, I have absolutely no sympathy for you. I feel for the dog, but only slightly. It is not the dogs fault that you are negligent for caring and confining your pet. Or at the very least training your dog. You appear to be one that has little concern of keeping a pet safe or respecting your neighbors.

I shot a dog today that that had killed over 10 of my chickens. If the owner of the dog had any sense or neighborly values, I would not have had to done so.

You mentioned calling the sheriff. I agree, but you should be facing charges, not you neighbor.

Member 1154070 answered on 2/7/13. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer