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Posted: 1/20/2015 10:57:21 AM EST
Last night my wife was taking the puppy out for his last call walk around midnight. As she stepped down into the yard from the stairs to the deck the puppy turned to theft, looked into the shadows between the deck ad the 12 foot tall privacy hedge, pulled up against the lead to stand on his hind legs (making him about 6' tall) and let out very loud, very adult bark.

A tall, skinny, black guy came out of the shadows, ran around the other side of my ATV (setup to plow and positioned in the yard to be ready to go), and took off down the street, with the dog straining at the lead to go after him.

Police called, report filed, et., etc.

My question is this; most of the time my wife just lets go of the dog's lead while she turns and locks the gate at the top of the deck stairs; the dog walks down and sniffs around waiting for her to come down and take him for his walk. If she had done that last night I have no question that the dog would have barked and gone straight for the guy. the dog would just have been playing but in his yard that usually means roughhousing with the other dog or my son (he's very calm on a lead in public; people and animal friendly).

So this guy would have had a 150 lb puppy charging at him and when he took off the dog would just have assumed he was playing.(my son takes him out for runs). So if that happened and he ran the guy down (literally knocking him to the ground which he can do if you aren't ready for this behavior) would we have any civil liability if it happened off of our property? Under PA law I could have shot the guy while he was coming across the yard from the shadows, but I have no idea what the criminal and civil litigation issues would be if the dog took him down (and yes, I know you can get sued for anything).

Puppy from abut a year ago; he's taller and heavier now



Wife pics can be found in BOTD and other random posts of mine
Link Posted: 1/20/2015 11:04:44 AM EST
[Last Edit: 1/20/2015 11:06:44 AM EST by dbrowne1]
Leonbergers are nice dogs. Until it's time for them to not be nice.

I don't know the rules in PA, but in my state, dogs and their owners generally get a pass if the dog is on its owner's property and the person who gets "attacked" ain't supposed to be there. You'll find those exceptions in the various loose dog and "vicious" dog statutes.
Link Posted: 1/20/2015 11:10:35 AM EST
I think your dog knew it wasn't play time, and probably would of had a piece of that guys ass. It always amazes me how dogs know that coyotes are not dogs and when it is time to get some.

Sounds like he did his job, but I am not even going to try to answer the liability question.
Link Posted: 1/20/2015 12:22:57 PM EST
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Originally Posted By dbrowne1:
I don't know the rules in PA, but in my state, dogs and their owners generally get a pass if the dog is on its owner's property and the person who gets "attacked" ain't supposed to be there. You'll find those exceptions in the various loose dog and "vicious" dog statutes.
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I'm not concerned about issues on property, but he was outside the fenced area and wouldn't have stopped at the property line had he been unleashed. So I guess it's a continuation of action type question.
Link Posted: 1/20/2015 9:52:38 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/20/2015 9:52:45 PM EST by DavidC]
And FWIW, when I went out in the daylight I found a gas can, screwdriver, and wrench behind the ATV. wouldn't have done him much good as there is an undocumented fuel shutoff I added.
Link Posted: 1/20/2015 10:00:47 PM EST
My 10lb Lhasa lapdog has signaled she wanted to go out, only to go straight to a possum or cat that had made its way into the patio or outside shrubs as if she'd been watching it through the window. Dogs are very acute about other animals in their territory.

As for him having at a trespasser, I'd check your local laws but most likely the other guy trespassing covers your ass.
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