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The Armed Citizen® | Dog Attacks

The Armed Citizen® | Dog Attacks

The sort of threats that prompt someone to purchase a gun for self-defense are typically those perpetrated by criminals. But firearms can be equally effective at warding off attacks by four-legged predators. Following are the stories of eight gun owners who came to the defense of themselves and others when “man’s best friend” turned out to be anything but. 

A husband and wife were at home in Pittsburgh, Pa., when the wife heard the screams of a 14-year-old neighbor. The boy was calling for help, as his 7-year-old brother was under attack by a pit bull. The wife alerted her husband, who retrieved a gun and went to the site of the attack. When he arrived, the dog was on top of the boy, prompting the husband to shoot the dog in the rear in order to halt the attack and not harm the child. The first shot got the dog off the boy, but as the dog continued to act violently, the husband was forced to fatally shoot the animal. The husband then carried the boy, who suffered facial lacerations, out of the house. (KDKA, Pittsburgh, Pa., 01/10/16) 

After a woman arrived home with her pet pit bull in Exeter Township, Pa., she was attacked by the dog as she tried to remove it from her car. The woman’s partner came to her aid, but was also attacked by the dog. One neighbor described the scene to a local news outlet by stating, “The dog would not let [him] go.” Other neighbors came to help the couple. When the dog failed to stop after one neighbor hit it with a metal bar, another neighbor shot the dog, ending the attack. The wounded couple was taken to a local hospital. (WFMZ, Allentown, Pa., 05/01/14) 

A homeowner in Washington County, Ore., was walking his dog along his property when his neighbor’s Doberman Pinscher approached him and began to attack. The homeowner was carrying a shotgun at the time of the incident, and used it to fell the vicious dog. Following the shooting, Cpl. Nick Markos of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office told a local news outlet, “As a citizen you have the right to protect yourself from injury or harm, even death ... In this situation he carried a shotgun with him because he was working on his property and the dog chased after him, attempted to attack him and he ended up shooting him.” (KOIN, Portland, Ore., 03/18/14) 

Two children were outside on a public street in San Bernardino, Calif., when a pit bull attacked them. As the children tried to escape from the dog, the children’s aunt picked up a toy scooter and attempted to use it to fight the dog off. A neighbor noticed the attack, retrieved a gun, and shot and killed the dog. Following the incident, the aunt explained to a reporter that she was fearful for the children’s lives and said that the armed citizen is a hero. One of the children was taken to a local hospital for her injuries, but is now fine. (NBC, Los Angeles, Calif., 10/07/13)

After a dog owner lost control of her pit bull in Lewiston, Idaho, the dog ran off her property and attempted to attack a husband and wife out walking their dog. Recognizing the threat, the husband drew a pistol and shot the animal, ending the attack. The pit bull was taken to a local veterinary clinic, but later died. Following the incident, Lewiston Police Department Captain Tom Greene made clear to local media, “If you’re in fear of your life, fear of your safety, and there is a well founded fear, you are able to defend yourself.” The pit bull was known to authorities, having been labeled a level one dangerous dog after it tried to attack a woman in 2011. (KLEW, Lewiston, Idaho, 08/14/12) 

A man was walking in the Plantation neighborhood of Miami, Fla., when he was attacked by a dog. The man, a right to carry permit holder, drew his firearm and fired at the dog. The dog was struck in the tail, and ended the attack. Both the man and the dog suffered only minor injuries, and are expected to recover. (The Miami Herald, Miami, Fla., 10/30/08) 

Alerted by the sound of screaming children, Paulo Jean stepped outside his home. "Trouble is out!" the children yelled. Jean was familiar with Trouble, an aptly named pit bull, and rushed to the scene. The dog immediately attacked, viciously biting Jean's arms and buttocks. Jean drew a pocket-holstered .380-caliber handgun and fired three shots, killing the dog. (The Miami Herald, Miami, Fla., 01/11/08)

College student John Erickson parked his scooter and was walking toward his house when a pit bull charged him in an unprovoked attack. "All of a sudden the dog grabbed my leg from behind," he recalls. He swung his helmet at the dog, temporarily halting the assault but the dog recommenced the onslaught. Erickson, a concealed-carry permit holder, was forced to draw his 9 mm pistol and shoot the delinquent animal. His mother, Lyn, used to oppose her son's firearm ownership, but after the incident she noted, "Now I'm saying, 'I'm just so thankful he had a gun,' I'm just so thankful because what would you do?" (Daily Herald, Provo, Utah, 9/18/07)