Few favor changing law that allowed interloping dog to be shot - 222 responses

Jan 16, 2013

Few stories in the new year have aroused the same emotion as the recent case out of Hampstead, where a man shot a neighbor’s dog that, he said, was on his property and was menacing his caged pet rabbits.

On Jan. 12, the Live Free or Die Alliance asked its 11,400 followers: “State law allows one to kill a dog “worrying, wounding or killing sheep, lambs … or other domestic animals.” Should this law stand as is, or should it be revised?” As of the morning of Jan. 17, we had received 222 total responses, including 39 “likes,” with an additional 17 people sharing the question and associated image with their own Facebook friends.

Of the total number of those who answered the question, 71 answered the specific question about whether the law that allowed deadly force to be used against the dog in question, a 6-year-old Brittany spaniel, should stand. Many other responses veered off the subject into discussions of whether the shooter’s actions were thuggish and cruel, or a reasonable attempt to protect his rabbits, but didn’t address the validity of the law as it exists.

Among the respondents who addressed the specific question, 82 percent favored keeping the law as is (even if they disagreed with the actions of the individual in question), while 18 percent thought the law should be revised. Of interest, 100 percent of those who favored a revision of the law were women, while 31 percent of those who said the law needs no changing were women.

“The problem was not caused by the defendant, it was caused by people who did not have control over their dog,” said one man, typical of the tenor among those opposing a change in the law. I feel badly for their loss, but I believe that the law is fair and encourages responsible pet ownership.”

Those who think it’s time to revise the law, though, believed the use of deadly force in this case was an overreaction. One woman said, “What's wrong with this guy just telling his neighbor about the problem? Maybe the problem would have been solved and a family pet still alive!!!! Talk people talk!!!!!”

The aforementioned findings don’t comprise a scientific survey, but are more akin to citizen testimony, where respondents are (to the greatest extent possible) identifiable by their real names. As New Hampshire's Town Hall, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Live Free or Die Alliance is free and open to all, offering a unique and important mechanism for more than 13,000 community members to express their views. 

Though the vast majority of our Facebook community who responded sympathized with the grieving owners of the dog, they clearly opposed any attempts to curtail Granite Staters’ ability to protect their property, even with lethal force if necessary. 

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