I found some references to dog laws posted in one of the other threads. I thought I would post relevant links for WV specific laws for those that are interested since I could not find any relevant posts within the WV forum.
My wife and I were almost attacked by a large aggressive breed on our own property a few weeks ago. I wanted to know the legal ramifications if my family or animals were attacked and I had to kill the dog, as much as I do not want to do that. The last incident resulted in me firing a shotgun in the air (I live in a very rural area). However, there are other dogs at large in my area and I worry I may come across one that is not intimated by the sound of the gun.
I would be interested in hearing any incidents particular to WV of where someone has had to take defensive action against a dog on or off their own property. I also worry about a civil suit that could follow; however, I would rather be in a court room than a hospital, vet office, or worse a funeral home.
Original reference to the code I found:
WV State code:
The two laws of most interest to myself were:
§19-20-16. Same -- When lawful to kill dog.
A person may kill a dog that he may see chasing, worrying, wounding or killing any sheep, lambs, goats, kids, calves, cattle, swine, show or breeding rabbits, horses, colts or poultry outside of the enclosure of the owner of the dog, unless the chasing or worrying be done by the direction of the owner of the sheep, lambs, goats, kids, calves, cattle, swine, show or breeding rabbits or horses and colts or poultry.
§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.
This portion right here:
However, this section does not apply to a dog who is killed while attacking a person, a companion animal or livestock.
is what protects you. Just make sure that the dog was actually or was in the process of begining to attack you. I ran into a situation where a neighbor dog attempted to attack me on 3 seperate occasions, on the 3 occasion the cops got called by the owner because I came very close to putting the dog down. The Sherrifs were informed of the state code that protects me and you in this type of incident and they simply had to inform the owner that if the dog did attack again I did have every legal right to kill it. As for civil I'd say you would still end up in court being sued and yes you probablly might end up baying for the cost of the dog. Unfortunately civil law doesnt often take into account that criminal law protection.
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.