March 1, 2016
Your Neighbor’s Dog
Realtor.com quoted me in Salma Hayek’s Dog Shot by Neighbor: Was He Right? It reads, in part,
Actress Salma Hayek is mourning the death of her dog Mozart—a dog she nurtured from birth, according to her Instagram post. The 9-year-old pooch, a Belgian Malinois, was found dead on her Washington state ranch on Friday with a visible wound close to his heart. And this sad story only got worse once police discovered the culprit: Hayek’s neighbor.
According to TMZ, the neighbor was sick of Hayek’s dogs, several of whom regularly trespassed on his territory and attacked his dogs. So on that fateful Friday, this neighbor responded to a dogfight in his garage by shooting an air rifle just to scare off the one attacking his dog, the Associated Press reports. Mozart, who was hit, ran off and died from internal bleeding. In fact, the shooter’s wife Kim Lund told the AP, “We didn’t even know we killed a dog. I’m in shock.”
Claiming a pellet gun would normally not be deadly, the police ruled the shooting justified, but plan to send the case to prosecutors for additional review.
* * *
According to “When Killing a Dog Is Legally Justified” on Nolo.com, most state laws do not allow homeowners to shoot dogs that are merely running loose on their property. And even if they’re attacking your own dog or cat, you’re not off the hook.
“Someone who does injure a dog that’s chasing another dog … may be liable for damages to the dog’s owner,” writes Mary Randolphnd the killer may also be guilty of cruelty to animals.”
In other words, Hayek’s neighbor could pay for pulling the trigger. Plus there’s the bigger picture, points out David Reiss, research director at the Center for Urban Business Entrepreneurship at Brooklyn Law School: “How’s it going to be to continue living next door to your neighbors after you shot their dog?”
Imagine how awkward it will be for this guy to run into Hayek from now until the end of his days there. Maybe he could have tried to fix the problem earlier with something other than rubber bullets.
“There certainly are steps you could take before shooting the dog,” Reiss says. “You could call animal control or law enforcement. In some places, if a dog owner has received a warning about his or her pet, he or she could face liability for allowing it to roam free.”
Bottom line: Talk first, shoot only as a last resort.| Permalink