What recourse, if any, do I have if my neighbor shoots my dog for bothering her chickens from our property?

Asked over 1 year ago - Medical Lake, WA

Our puppy grabbed her free roaming chickens, did not seriously harm any. I helped her post fence and have insured that my dog did not get out. Her dog got out and while attacking my dog through and over our 6 ft fence tore fencing which I did not notice until my dog got out and went up to her fence (still our property) and riled up her chickens. She screamed at my husband (standing at her door with dinner we cooked for her-our dog was following him) she will shoot my dog if she comes for her chickens again and 5 min later (Gigi was already secured in house) starting shooting her gun. I am worried she is going to kill my dog if she ever gets out and goes up to that fence. We are getting electric fencing and doing all we can, I am still concerned. I don't think the lady is very stable.

Additional information

I called the police immediately and i was educated on life in the country. We are in a shooting zone and the officer let me know that even without speaking to her she was simply shooting a warning shot and was not reckless endangerment or meant as a threat to me or my family as I perceived it. It is just the way of the country out here. We have been stationed out here from Tampa, and perhaps living in cities and subdivisions all my life, I just need to adjust, as the officer alluded to. However I do view gunshots as threatening because why else would one discharge their firearm when the situation had been resolved? Its a threat. I am sure dog vs. chickens is a tale as old as time and unfortunately I am on the losing end. And so is my dog. So now I am a prisoner in my own home, fearing stray "warning" shots from Annie Oakley and losing sleep over whether or not this is my puppy's last day.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Shawn B Alexander

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    Answered . I agree with the previous answers and when it comes to crazy ladies and firearms it is time to call law enforcement. The owner of livestock can kill free roaming dogs that are damaging their livestock, but only at the time not later and sure not on your property. So call the sheriff and make a report of the shots it sounds like reckless endangerment . I have added links to the livestock law and the reckless endangerment statute

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  2. Dave Hawkins

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    Answered . You need to hire an attorney and possibly get a restraining order -- however, you have to control your own dog.

    Please note that THESE COMMENTS ARE NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE and are for informational purposes only. This... more
  3. Christian K. Lassen II

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    Answered . An electric fence is a good idea.

  4. Gregory Creed Littman

    Contributor Level 3

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    Answered . I would consult with a West Virginia Attorney. However, next time she starts shooting, I would call the police right away. If she does shoot your dog, you may have legal recourse.

    Here is the WV Statute:

    § 19-20-12. Dogs, other animals and reptiles protected by law; unlawful killing thereof; aggrieved owner's remedy; penalties; penalties for unlawful stealing of companion animals

    (a) Any dog which is registered, kept and controlled as provided in this article or any dog, cat or other animal or any reptile which is owned, kept and maintained as a companion animal by any person, irrespective of age, is protected by law; and, except as otherwise authorized by law, any person who shall intentionally, knowingly or recklessly kill, injure, poison or in any other manner, cause the death or injury of any dog, cat, other animal or any reptile is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be ordered to provide public service for not less than thirty nor more than ninety days or fined not less than three hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars, or both. However, this section does not apply to a dog who is killed while attacking a person, a companion animal or livestock. Any person whose dog, cat, other animal or reptile as specified herein is killed or injured wrongfully or unlawfully by any other person shall have a right of action against the person who shall so kill or injure any dog, cat, animal or reptile.

    (b) Any person who shall intentionally and unlawfully steal a dog, cat, other animal or reptile as specified in subsection (a) of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be ordered to provide public service for not less than thirty nor more than ninety days or fined not less than three hundred nor more than five hundred dollars, or both. Any person violating the provisions of this subsection, for second or subsequent offense, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be confined in jail for a period of not less than ninety days nor more than six months, or shall be ordered to provide public service for not more than one year, and fined not less than one thousand dollars. In no case can any action or prosecution relating to a dog under the provisions of this section be maintained if the dog concerned has not been duly registered pursuant to the provisions of this article or owned and kept pursuant to the provisions of this section or owned and kept pursuant to the provisions of this section at the time the cause of action shall have arisen.

    (c) No person other than the owner of a registered dog may remove a tag, collar or other identifying apparel from the registered dog, nor remove or turn off a radio transmitting collar on the registered dog, without the permission of the owner, unless removal of the tag, collar or apparel is necessary to prevent or treat an injury to the dog or is done by a law-enforcement officer for a legitimate law-enforcement purpose. Any person who intentionally removes a tag, collar or other apparel from a registered dog in violation of the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be ordered to provide community service for not less than eight hours nor more than forty hours or fined not less than fifty dollars nor more than one hundred fifty dollars, or both.

    (d) The Commissioner of Agriculture is hereby authorized to designate a reasonable number of his or her present employees as may be necessary to investigate alleged incidents of the unlawful stealing of dogs, other domestic animals or reptiles, alleged incidents of cruelty to animals or reptiles and the alleged incidents of the unlawful stealing of animals or reptiles for the purpose of sale to medical or other research companies. The deputies shall make the results of their investigations known to any law-enforcement officers who have authority to enforce the provisions of this article.

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