In Part I, we saw the actions Clint took to defend his dog from being killed by the neighborhood stray. Now, in Part II you will learn if his actions followed the law. Watch Independent Program Attorney John Schleiffarth teach you the law, so you will know what to do if you find yourself in a similar situation.

Paul Ready: Welcome back to Part II of our feature on defending your pets. In Part I, our member Clint was forced to defend his dog against an attack by another bigger dog. Many of you have asked what the law says about how and when you can defend your four-legged friends. The answer will be different depending on the law in your state. That’s why we’ve asked the Independent Program Attorneys in your state to tell us more.

John Schleiffarth: If you encounter a situation like we just talked about, it’s important to remember that in Missouri, you can use deadly force to protect yourself from an animal that is attacking to kill or wound you, or another domestic animal. So normally, we can only protect property by using reasonable force. However, if an animal is attacking you, or a domestic animal that you own, then you can, in certain circumstances, use deadly force to protect yourself and your pet. In this case, your dog is being attacked. Can you shoot the other dog? Yes.

Let’s also look at some other alternatives. If your dog is being attacked is there anything you can do to scare the other dog away? This might be a better choice to resort to first before you go to deadly force. Again, someone could sue you if you’re using deadly force and you didn’t need to. Also, if you’re in the type of situation where an animal has been trespassing on your property on a regular basis, if you report that to the sheriff’s department or to the police at least twice there’s going to be a presumption if you end up killing that animal that you were justified in doing so. So, if you are having a nuisance problem, and animals are coming on your property, make sure and call the police and make a record of that before it escalates to the point where you may need to kill that animal.

Be aware that under the law in Missouri that allows you to kill a dog that is attacking your dog, if the attack is taking place within an enclosure that belongs to you, let’s say for instance you have a fenced yard and the neighbor’s dog has gotten into your fenced yard and is attacking your dog, the law does not apply. So if the attack is taking place in an enclosure that belongs to you you can’t use deadly force. You still use reasonable force, but you can’t use deadly force.

Paul: For more information on when you can use force in your state, please go to and register to attend one of our events in your area. If you missed Part I of Clint’s story, you can click the link on your screen to see it. And as always if you are not a member we would love for you to join us at