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I was mucking about reading a 1993 copyright book about Home and Family protection dog selection and training and found the chapter on Legalities and Liabilities to be very interesting. 13 years ago these authors were addressing the issue of responsibility of ownership in regards to PPD.
Where have we gone since then? Is it more or less of an issue?
Do any of the protection type sports have any information re: use of dogs, deadly force, interpretations, owner responsibility, etc.
Does anyone have a personal perspective on this?
Just curious; often concerned by newbies that promote bite over control in a PPD.

I know some of us live in Canada and many more in the U.S.; but I would love to see some perspective about this concern -- if indeed I should be concerned. :?

And yes I've posted this to some other boards; I want to hear from a wide range of people.
 

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I can't speak for civilian use of protection dogs. However, the USC has opined that the use of a police service dog is NOT considered deadly force. There is actually only one documented case in the US where a PSD was the proximate cause of a death while apprehending a suspect. The case was out of Nashville TN. I'm having a senior moment or I'd tell you the name of the case and you could look it up on Findlaw. It might be, US v. Gardner, but I can't swear too it. As for use of force, within the law enforcement community, it is part of the use of force continuum which basically says; you'll use only the amount of force necessary to effect an apprehension. It's an escalating scale, starting with voice, to hands on or chemicals, baton or deadly force. The dog would fit in between voice and deadly force when applicable.

DFrost
 

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I think Garner was the case in which deadly force requirements were defined and PSDs were, as David said, NOT deadly force, and in Robinette v. Barnes, the case where the suspect did die (bled to death after PSD neck bite), QUOTE: the dog was trained to bite whatever part of the anatomy was nearest if an arm was unavailable and the suspect had hidden under a car so that only his neck was exposed. ... The Robinette court held that the use of the dog did not amount to deadly force because the outcome was "an extreme aberration..."

http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/printer_friendly.pl?page=9th/9556782.html

Editing to add (from Garner), QUOTE: We will assume that a properly trained police dog could kill a suspect under highly unusual circumstances. The prospect of such an aberration doesn't convert otherwise nondeadly force into deadly force.
 

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From the civilian perspective, it varies from state to state and county to county and city to city. I live in unincorporated Orange County FL, so city doesn't apply to me, but the county says that on my own private property, if my dog bites someone that is trespassing or provoking my dog, then my dog will not be classified as a dangerous dog. Given the recent changes in the law that allow you to use a firearm in a public place if you feel your life depends on it, I can only make the logical assumption that having a PPD means your dog can defend you in such circumstances too. However, protecting the handler and being used for apprehension are seperate matters, a civilian dog should be taught to defend, not to persue a fleeing suspect like a police dog would be used for, no matter how tempting ;)

www.municode.com has many of the county ordinances countrywide.
 

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Similar from NY:
http://billstclair.com/ferran/righttouseforce.html

There is interesting language here, such as:

'It would be ludicrous to hold that someone is liable because his watchdog failed to discriminate between an inadvertent trespasser on the property and one who is there bent on criminal activity.'

and

'Apparently, the signs need not explicitly state that "Trespassers Assume the Risk of Being Bitten and/or Eaten Alive by Ferocious Dogs Kept unattended On this Land." But, presumably that kind of explicit warning, giving notice of the type of Risks to be Created and Assumed by Trespassers, would be more than sufficient to give a Trespasser the ability to consciously choose (Or Choose Not) to Create and Assume those Risks by knowingly "plac[ing] himself in a dangerous" place.'

and

'igns warning: "Keep Out: Spring Guns Concealed on Premises", or "Keep Out: Beware of Man-Eating Dogs" (or "Angry Bulls", "Head-Kicking Horses", "Rabid Attack-Porcupines," "Thorny-Locust Trees," etc) would give Trespassers the opportunity to Knowingly Create and Assume the Risk of being shot, or eaten alive (etc.) during their defiant trespasses. '
 

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Connie, thank you. You are absolutely correct. I told you I was having a senior moment. Since I've known Ronnie Barnes for more years than I care to remember, I'm ashamed I forgot his name. In fact the ruling in Barnes is one of the reasons I don't train targeting a specific area of the body.

DFrost
 

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David Frost said:
Connie, thank you. You are absolutely correct. I told you I was having a senior moment. Since I've known Ronnie Barnes for more years than I care to remember, I'm ashamed I forgot his name. In fact the ruling in Barnes is one of the reasons I don't train targeting a specific area of the body.

DFrost
Ha..... the only way I found it was your reference to Findlaw (and Gardner). :lol: I just have quick Google-fingers.

That's very interesting about not training to target specific areas.
 

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We have it bad here in Ontario (in the area I live in). If a person places a sign that says Beware of Dog in the city limits, they are held liable if the dog bites anyone except in defence of the actual inside of the home. A sign can be placed with the picture of a GSD head, but no warning of a possible bite. The reason as explained to me was that if the owner placed a Beware of Dog sign, then the owner placed it knowingly that his dog would bite and therefore allowed a known dangerous dog to roam his property free. Even if fenced in. It's the same way we are not allowed to have a firearm in our possession or on our property. Our rules are tight. When I owned firearms, the law said I had to have the clip separate in containment and locked and the firearm disabled and locked also. If moved by vehicle, the trunk had to be locked at all times and contents out of site. The only ones in Ontario who are allowed to escort a protection dog in public legally are employed Security Dogs who have been certified as canine patrols with the Attorney Generals Office. These dogs are allowed to pursue and defend handler when on the job. If your dog has been trained in PP Training then you are at risk of having a muzzle by law enforced.
We also have the dog liscensing program for all dogs over 6 months of age of any breed so as to track their titles of training, vet/vaccinations, previous bite complaints, etc. We are only allowed a certain number of dogs in the city limits per household. I have never liscenced a dog with the city, and they have never asked me to either. They excuse people they know are keeping the dog for training and selling purposes. All country dogs are excused also. All breeding kennels with more than three adult dogs must be in the country. Things are tight.
 

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The OP was from Ontario, so this should get her started.

This is the Ontario Dog Owners' Liability Act.

http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/DBLaws/Statutes/English/90d16_e.htm


In cases where the dog was used as a PPD, the Criminal Code of Canada is more likely to apply. Without going through all the circumstances that a civilian is allowed to use force (to protect themselves, to protect others, to make an arrest, to prevent the commission or continuation of an offence...), it's important to know that in every circumstance where force is allowed, a person can be held criminally and civilly responsible for any excess thereof. Think of the dog as a weapon, as that is how the courts will see it. The courts will look at each case individually to see if it's deployment or use was really justified.

If you've got dogs that bite, don't rely on forums for legal advice as every community will be different. Know your rights, and know your limitations.
 

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Liz Monty said:
The only ones in Ontario who are allowed to escort a protection dog in public legally are employed Security Dogs who have been certified as canine patrols with the Attorney Generals Office. These dogs are allowed to pursue and defend handler when on the job. If your dog has been trained in PP Training then you are at risk of having a muzzle by law enforced.
This statement makes it sound like you're not allowed to use a PPD in Ontario, which simply isn't true. The only time the dogs have to be registered through the Attorney General's office is if they are part of a licensed security company. The Ontario Private Investigator and Security Guard Act only regulates security companies, not private citizens (although changes are pending, but should still not effect regular citizens, only in-house security staff).
 

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<<<it's important to know that in every circumstance where force is allowed, a person can be held criminally and civilly responsible for any excess thereof. Think of the dog as a weapon, as that is how the courts will see it. The courts will look at each case individually to see if it's deployment or use was really justified.>>>>>

Containe in those words is pretty much how it would be viewed in the US as well. Use of force is use of force. While a Law enforcement officer would be held to a higher standard (because of training) the court looks at every case of excesses force civilian and law enforcement alike.

DFrost
 

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You beat me to it, Simon.

Liz, please include a URL to an authoritative government site or local law site when posting definitive statements about legal requirements. It's best to avoid phrases like "the law said" and "I was told" with no backup in all such matters. It puts this board in the position of disseminating hearsay when the actual facts are available with a Google search.

Some things are necessarily opinion; statutes aren't.

If you cannot back up the statements, then it's best to preface them with "in my recollection" or "in my opinion."

Thanks.
 

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Simon Mellick said:
.... If you've got dogs that bite, don't rely on forums for legal advice as every community will be different. Know your rights, and know your limitations.
And in fact, even if you don't have dogs who bite........

Good advice.
 

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Simom, yes that is what I meant, the Private Investigation and Security Companies, that are regulated by the Attorney General. Your right, I may not have worded it right.
 
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