Defending Against Aggressive Dogs in Colorado

Presenter: U.S. Law Shield of Colorado Independent Program Attorney Doug Richards

So, for all of us dog lovers out there, we can easily envision ourselves in a situation where we’re on a hike or on a walk with our dog, and especially in Colorado, there’s a lot of coyotes. And if you get approached by a coyote or maybe an aggressive dog that’s owned by your neighbor, what do you do?

Now, you cannot use deadly force in defense of property in Colorado. So, if you find a coyote or something coming and attacking your dog, which is technically property in Colorado, you can’t just automatically deploy deadly force in self-defense.

Now, some people might say, “You know what? I might do it anyway, and beg for forgiveness later on” and deal with it. But the real critical question that you should be answering and asking yourself when you use or when you’re trying to decide to use deadly force is whether or not you might be next and whether or not this animal — this wild animal is attacking your dog and is about to attack you as well.

Because if you think the animal is about to attack you, then by all means use whatever force necessary if you think that animal is going to present the ability to inflict serious bodily injury or death upon you, then go ahead and attack it and shoot it.

There are questions about whether any immunity laws are applicable here, and there really aren’t. This is one of those areas that there’s not a solid black-or-white answer on it, and you’re going to have to make a split-second decision.

And what you should always be thinking about when making those decisions is not how can I protect my property, but is this [attacking animal] something that is going to attack me as well? And if you think that’s the case, then make sure you protect yourself.

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