There is nothing worse than seeing your pet in pain, especially if that pain came from the deliberate actions of another human being. There are cases of dogs being kicked while on walks, either due to altercations or through no fault of their own. It is a complex situation, so what can you do if someone does kick your dog?
Stay calm as possible and tend to your dog first. Gather as much evidence of the assault as you can including video or photographs from bystanders. Speak to the RSPCA and to the police for advice on how to proceed.
You can try your best to make a case against an attacker and sue if you feel that this is the best course of action. There are laws against this sort of treatment. But, there are also laws about uncontrolled dogs and it can be difficult to make a case. Also, while it is instinctual to focus on getting back at the attacker, your dog’s health is your top priority.
Should I fight back if someone kicks my dog?
The instinct here is to retaliate. In our recent survey over 98% of respondents said they would lash out either verbally, physically or both in this situation. And that is totally understandable as your beloved pet, an innocent animal that can’t stand up to a human, has just been attacked. However, it is important that you stay as calm as possible and don’t do anything to make the matter worse. It is vital that you:
a) resist the urge to physically harm or restrain the offender
b) gather as much evidence as possible about the assault and the person responsible, such as photographic or video evidence from by witnesses.
c) tend to your dog as soon as possible so that they get the best care. Reassure them, take them home, and see a vet for a check-up.
d) go and speak to the police about your case. Do not use the emergency number unless there is a significant or immediate threat.
c) contact the RSPCA for further guidance and to report the attacker
Can I press charges against the person that kicked my dog?
Possibly. You can at the very least talk to the police, state your case, and then see what they can or cannot do about the situation. This is where all those previous actions can pay off. You may have evidence to present to help your case. Also, don’t forget that the law may be on your side.
What does the law state about attacks on animals?
The Protection of Animals Act of 1911 is an important law that highlights criminal offences against animals. Section 1 states that it is a criminal offence to “cruelly beat, ill-treat, kick” a domestic or captive animal, which relates to our question about kicking pet dogs. You also can’t “over-ride, over-load, torture, infuriate or terrify” them. This relates to any offender, while owners may not permit this or any other unnecessary suffering to happen.
Consider whether or not your dog was in the wrong.
This isn’t something that dog owners like to admit. Many will blindly maintain their pet’s innocence or a lapse in character during a negative experience. Or, they will falsely blame the other animal or person involved because they can’t bear to think of their pet being at fault. This sense of denial isn’t uncommon but it might lessen your case. It helps to think back to why the accused lashed out at your dog in the first place. Was your dog….
a) off the lead and worrying livestock in a farmer’s field, causing the landowner to lash out.
b) getting too close to another dog and putting it at risk, causing the dog’s owner to get overprotective.
c) snapping at people, perhaps children, causing the parent to kick out to protect the child.
These cases are where you don’t have so much to gain from a civil action case. While your dog may have been injured and you feel they deserve some justice, you may have broken some laws yourself or put someone in danger. Cases of self-defence or the protection of livestock may go in the favour of those you accuse. You may then get charges against you as the owner of an unruly dog and a lot of legal costs to contend with.
Dangerously out of control dogs and UK law
Going back to the laws about dogs in the UK, there are big penalties for owners of dogs that are dangerously out of control. Some people will claim this to get out of a case of mistreatment, and it can be hard for the authorities to do anything without strong evidence. You may end up in a stalemate of your word against theirs where you lose the case even if you have proof of injuries.
Dogs are considered dangerously out of control if they are off the lead and injure someone, injure another animal, or there is the perceived threat of injury. This is the case anywhere, whether on public or private property, and even within your own home. This protects guests from the actions of uncontrolled dogs in your house or garden.
Can you kick a dog in self defence?
What this all then means is that people can get away with kicking a dog in self defence. While there will be cases where there are false claims of self defence, it is also important that parents and other dog owners have this option.
You need to put yourself in their shoes for a moment and think about what you would do if a stranger’s dog came at your pet or your children. You will find countless people on forums that are open in their hypocrisy on this issue. They are irate at the person that lashed out at their pup when it was off the lead and bothering another dog, but wouldn’t think twice about doing the same to a dog they were worried about.
In short, while you can try and file a case against someone for maliciously attacking your dog, there is no guarantee of success. The most important thing to do is to focus on your dog, not the attacker. Your efforts are better spent caring for any injuries, reassuring the dog, and also considering any personal faults if your dog was off the lead. Learn from the situation and move on.