May 10, 2013

"A woman in a car who saw the attack honked her horn to try to get the dogs to stop..."

"Police have warned residents to be on the lookout for the pit bulls, which remain on the loose..."
Sheriff officials say they are using a helicopter to search for the four tan-coloured dogs in the rural community of Littlerock, about 40 miles (65km) northeast of the city of Los Angeles.

"When the first deputy on scene saw one dog still attacking the woman, he tried to chase the dog away," Lt Corina said. "The dog ran off into the desert, then turned around and attacked the deputy, the deputy fired a round at the dog and tried to kill the dog, and the dog took off into the desert."...
"It's really scary... I really think I'm going to be getting a gun to protect myself," Littlerock resident Diane Huffman told KABC-TV.
It's great to take action to protect yourself, but I note that the multiple cops were unsuccessful trying to shoot one dog when they showed up prepared for the attack and the dog was running away. The woman was jumped by 4 dogs in a sudden, surprising attack. If she'd had a gun, would she have won the fight?

92 comments:

Moose said...

Probably not, but then that's not a reason for her to be disarmed either. I'd regulate pit bulls in LA first. They dump them in the desert when they get too old or lose fights.

CEO-MMP said...

Cops are notoriously bad shots, expending dozens of rounds for minimal hits.

Citizens who get guns usually become better shots, so yes, if she'd had a gun her chances would be better than the police in this case, and certainly better than if she didn't have the gun at all.

David said...

Having a gun does not win you a fight. Especially against a pack of determined attackers, human or canine. But it's a better chance than with no gun, mainly because it could scare them.



CEO-MMP said...

And I wouldn't regulate Pits in LA, I'd regulate Pit owners.

Pits are good dogs. Badly bred Pits and abused Pits are not.

People who do that should find themselves incarcerated.

David said...

Please do not allow the Pit Bulls to have guns.

Paco Wové said...

The BBC has the weirdest standards when it comes to use of quotation marks.

JMS said...

You are defining "win" incorrectly. If she fired the gun and the dogs "took off into the desert," she won.

traditionalguy said...

Oh, no. Now the Muslim Terrorists will probably set packs of hungry pit bulls loose as the Marathon joggers come running by.

Seriously, the joggers will need to carry two guns so one is strapped in each hand for balance, like the 3 lbs hand weight sets.

But the Obama propaganda push to demonize citizens carrying guns would make joggers cause of mass hysteria.

Matthew Sablan said...

No idea if she'd have won. If they weren't scared off by the other shots, they probably wouldn't've been scared off by hers.

CEO-MMP said...

Although armed joggers could certainly improve the quality of driving near them.

I see people driving who won't move an inch to give a safety berth.

More guns more berth!

gerry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CEO-MMP said...

Besides, who said the cops showed up prepared? I mean, were these dogs restrained somehow, incapable of moving, tied mere feet from the cop? That's more their speed (google Chloe Commerce City if you don't know what I'm referencing).

Or dozens of other similar events.

Jeff Teal said...

Chance without a gun slim to none.Chances with better than that.Carry the gun.Something like a Taurus Judge would work fine here.

Jeff Teal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CEO-MMP said...

Matthew Sablan said...

No idea if she'd have won. If they weren't scared off by the other shots, they probably wouldn't've been scared off by hers."


Read the article. The dog was heading back to the desert, the cop fired at the dog (and apparently didn't hit the dog) and the dog continued into the desert.

gerry said...

Let's see:

You are attacked by a pack of vicious dogs and you don't have a firearm.

You are attacked by a pack of vicious dogs and you do have a firearm.

Assuming you know how to use one, the latter is better than the former.

It's like cigarette smoking. The odds against developing lung cancer are much better if you do not smoke.

You want to go with the odds.

This really isn't that hard

Jay said...

I note that the multiple cops were unsuccessful trying to shoot one dog when they showed up prepared for the attack

Just another reason why "trained professionals" should be the only ones with firearms.

Matthew Sablan said...

Ah, I was reading it as the deputy chased after an already leaving dog, that turned to defend itself.

Jay said...

Have a wife, daughter, friend or relative attacked by a pit bull the police were "prepared" to capture or kill?

Thank a union.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Residents say stray dogs are often seen roaming the area and have attacked people in the past."

-- This is sort of -why- people might want to go about armed. If the city/county/whatever can't keep packs of murderous dogs in check, it is just plain irresponsible to tell citizens they can't protect themselves.

Rusty said...

Jay said...
Have a wife, daughter, friend or relative attacked by a pit bull the police were "prepared" to capture or kill?

Thank a union

A policeman is under no obligation to risk his/her life to save yours.

X said...

althouse assumes cops are better than average shots.

Tibore said...

"If she'd had a gun, would she have won the fight?"

Against a pack of dogs, probably not. Against a mugger or other sort of dangerous criminal, the odds rise. Dogs don't reflect and tend to not understand what a firearm is. Humans do.

Measuring a concept against only one of the possible scenarios, and a marginal one at that, leads to incomplete analysis.

David said...

In rural America guns would have saved her. Those dogs would have been dead long ago, from rifles not handguns. Prophylactic rifles.

AllenS said...

If she'd had a gun, would she have won the fight?

Doesn't matter. Better to die fighting, than to not fight at all.

Diego de la Vega said...

There are parts of Georgia where one does not walk unarmed. There are large packs of feral dogs on the loose who have no fear of humans. Also, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/27/AR2010042705323.html

madAsHell said...

I carry a paper-weight. It doesn't require a permit, and I don't have to find ammunition.

I blame Obama.

X said...

multiple cops unable to hit the target. althouse's razor deduces citizens can't shoot.

Jay said...


A policeman is under no obligation to risk his/her life to save yours.


I know, and I'm ok with that.

But I'm also sick of being told that "calling 9-11" is better than owning a gun and that the police are some sort of sainted class who deserve pay & pensions which are bankrupting cities.

Jay said...

althouse's razor deduces citizens can't shoot.

She said in that conversation with Bob Wright that she wants "experts" to make policy on stuff like guns (but not gay marriage of course) so now you see why she presumes the police are better shots than the average citizen with a gun.

Matthew Sablan said...

I think it matters if the dog has seen a gun before if it will be scared of it. It isn't an instinctive fear, like of say, a giant bear, but it can be learned.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Having an evil high-magazine clip would help. You can keep firing until you connect.

X said...

Bernie Goetz hit 4 muggers with 5 shots. zero misses.

Ignacio said...

It's very hard to hit a moving target moving swiftly away from you.

robinintn said...

How about one of those awesome plastic printer guns? Perfect for joggers. Oh, wait. Justice and State got together and pre-emptively banned them. Some luddite, censorious thug styling himself a tech expert thinks it would be a fine idea to regulate printers.

Pogo said...

Clearly we need to regulate high capacity feral dogs.

Larry J said...

It's great to take action to protect yourself, but I note that the multiple cops were unsuccessful trying to shoot one dog when they showed up prepared for the attack and the dog was running away. The woman was jumped by 4 dogs in a sudden, surprising attack. If she'd had a gun, would she have won the fight?

Perhaps. She would've had 4 times as many targets and they likely would've been closer. Her odds of hitting one or more of them might be pretty good. Certainly better odds than being unarmed.

Jeff Teal said...

Ignacio I don't give a damm about hitting a feral dog going away with me with a handgun but I damm sure want to hit the one coming towards me.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Ignacio said...

It's very hard to hit a moving target moving swiftly away from you.

That's why God invented shotguns.

BAS said...

She could have scared the dogs away even if she was a bad shot.
The dog started running away after it was shot at.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

madAsHell said...

I carry a paper-weight.

Well, if you ever get attacked by a stack of papers, my money's on you.

Cath said...

Remember when Texas governor Rick Perry shot a menacing coyote while he was out jogging?

rhhardin said...

Dogs that threaten or attack livestock have always been legal gun targets in rural areas.

Farmers' rules.

A feral dog sees people as livestock.

Fprawl said...

My farmer friend uses an 'assault rifle' to cull pesky calf killing coyotes.
If you are going to die, shove your fist down the dogs throat, he will suffocate before he chews your hand off.

Fprawl said...

My farmer friend uses an 'assault rifle' to cull pesky calf killing coyotes.
If you are going to die, shove your fist down the dogs throat, he will suffocate before he chews your hand off.

Shanna said...

But it's a better chance than with no gun, mainly because it could scare them.

Right. Gunshots will scare off most dogs, but not all. But still, better odds is better odds.

DADvocate said...

If she had one of these 410/.45 S&W Revolvers, it sure would have upped the odds. It's like
two,
two,
two guns in one.

One reason I bought a pistol was because I live out in the country and am concerned about wild animals/dogs when I take walks and bike rides.

Mitchell the Bat said...

If you ever come across a pit bull with a thorn in its paw, well, you'll know what to do.

BarrySanders20 said...

Lesson: jogging is not good for your health.

AprilApple said...

"It's really scary... I really think I'm going to be getting a gun to protect myself,"

Good luck finding bullets. Creepy incompetent Obama admin has something to do with that.

X said...

the "jumped in a sudden, surprising attack" part is also an althouse assumption. it isn't in the article, and the attack was in the desert where you can generally see things coming. for all we know she saw them coming. a gun might have made all the difference, but she didn't have one and is dead.

X said...

here's what we do know: the cops made no difference at all.

Marshal said...

The dog ran off at the sound of the officer's shot. It doesn't seem that you had to hit one to win.

Fernandinande said...

"If she'd had a gun, would she have won the fight?"

Probably.

"That's more their speed (google Chloe Commerce City - "

Watch the video on youtube: The cops were a-scairt of a completely unaggressive dog that was just sitting there.

Leland said...

Interesting post Professor. It's like you are trying out the tactics of the 24 hour news.

There should be no correlation between the ability of the LA police to shot and hit anything to the rights of citizens under the 2nd Amendment. Our right is protected regardless of our aptitude or the aptitude of others, especially the government. Without the right, we would have an absolute zero chance to defend ourselves with any weapon.

I think sometimes people forget that the 2nd Amendment does not say "the right to bare firearms". It's "arms", which is any weapon. Because an officer couldn't hit a golfball, should a jogger not be allowed to carry a 9 iron to defend themselves from dogs? That's what my neighbor used to do when she went out jogging. She always made it back alive.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If she'd had a gun, would she have won the fight?

Maybe, but not likely. Attacks by wild animals are almost always a surprise to the unwary and clueless.

She might have had more of a chance to discourage or even kill the animals if she were armed AND proficient in using a weapon. But....her better strategies would be: to not be jogging all by herself, having a friend or several people in your own human pack...who are also armed would have been helpful. To not jog with earbuds in where you can't be aware of your surroundings. Surrounding yourself in a cocoon of disconnect from the environment is always a stupid plan.

If she didn't want to carry a gun, there are other ways to be armed and protect yourself from attacking dogs. When I used to ride a small motorcycle the dogs were a real pain in the ass in neighborhoods where you couldn't go fast enough to outrun them or they might come charging at you and knock you over. A club or cudgel, even one studded with sharp things like nails is a good deterrent. Either the dogs get the point.....or they don't and then you upscale to a gun.

Steve Koch said...

Agree that walking in the wild with ear buds playing is a mistake.

Pepper spray is effective, easy to use, doesn't require a permit, is a lot cheaper than a gun, and is not lethal. If I'm worried about dogs, I carry a walking stick.

I got treed by a pack of dogs when I was a kid, sure glad there was a tree close by.

Steve Koch said...

Dadvocate,

Very cool pistol, what a great idea to be able to shoot either .45 bullets or shogun shells. It is really a great match since it is tough to shoot accurately with a pistol, the shotgun shells improve your odds of hitting the target.

Icepick said...

Although armed joggers could certainly improve the quality of driving near them.

I see people driving who won't move an inch to give a safety berth.


How about not running in the road to begin with?

Icepick said...

Although armed joggers could certainly improve the quality of driving near them.

I see people driving who won't move an inch to give a safety berth.


How about not running in the road to begin with?

bagoh20 said...

There are a lot of serious dangers for people, and life would be pretty crappy if we did what it takes to make them all go away, so we need to understand that these dangers are out there. Muggers, rapists, fire, chemicals, floods, disease, cars, dogs, sometimes bears and mountain lions, yet few people have much understanding about how to reduce their risks from these things.

When we lived among wild animals, I bet we taught our children better about these things. When you can't outrun an attacker stand your ground. If they are human yell and scream for help, if they are not human do not run, do not scream. You are a top predator, a hunter, not prey, so act like it.

bagoh20 said...

On the gun question, if you knew you would be in that situation today, would you prefer to have a gun or not? As a person who interacts with dogs, and mostly pit bulls, every day, I'm pretty sure I could have stopped them without anything and definitely with a gun, and probably without hurting any of them, but I talk tough holding a cup of coffee.

I meet stray pit bulls on the street regularly. It's what I do as a hobby, and I have never seen one come toward me. Even in a pack. When you approach them and they have an out they run away. It's only when you act like a rabbit that they chase you. That's my experience after years of it. If you are not running, then the danger, as Mail men well know, is when you are near or in their territory, as in walking past their home. It doesn't matter what type of dog it is then, they all protect their territory. That's a dog's job 1.

edutcher said...

Pit bulls, dare I say it, are a ghetto/macho thing.

Sorry.

Ann Althouse said...

If she'd had a gun, would she have won the fight?

Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.

Paul said...

Dogs coming TOWARD her. Far more likely to hit them than if they are running away (as the cops found out.)

Maybe she would have hit them, maybe the gunshots would have made them run away. But one thing is for sure, she didn't have that choice.

A gun in the hand is better than two cops minutes away..

tiger said...

Regardless of the people saying that 'Pits are nice loving dogs':

Bullshiate.

*Your's* may be. Or your friends but the breed was developed to fight and not quit.

That is why there are so many fatal attacks.

Yeah Poodles or Chihuahuas may bite but they do it once and stop. Pits are in for the kill and to deny this is to deny the dog's nature.

Get back to me when you read that packs of Labs regularly mauling
people to death.

Until then admit you like having the dog equivalent of a hare triggered partially loaded hand gun around your kids or stfu.

bagoh20 said...

The reasons Pitt bulls seem so much more dangerous to us are:

1) The overwhelming majority of dogs loose on the street are pit bulls. probably at around 5 to 1.

2) They are powerful dogs for their size and were bred for tenacity, so if they do happen to be aggressive, it can be worse than other dogs, but this is true of most large dogs as well.

3) Every pit bull attack gets reported in the press, even often when it's not a pit, it get reported as one. I don't know if they are certain yet about the breed in this attack, but I heard it reported on the radio before any details where known, as "four vicious killer pit bulls". Can you imagine it being reported that way without any info, if the dogs were German Shepherds. In fact if they were another breed, it's likely the report would still be the same incendiary message, and it still may turn out that's what happened, although the numbers thing makes it likely they were pits.

It's a matter of numbers. If every pit bull were replaced with a German Shepard, or Labs, and the same irresponsible people had them, then I believe there would be no change in the number of dog attacks.

There are plenty of studies showing Pits are not the most likely dog to attack, when breed numbers are equalized. . I'm a numbers guy. Being emotional gets you bitten. I think labs are biggest biters among large dogs, if I remember right. The problem is the internet is full of crap studies and lies on this stuff. Find a scientific study not offered by an interest group. Then find one that says the opposite. It's pretty easy.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

a hare triggered partially loaded hand gun

LOL. Sorry.....this made me envision an angry Bugs Bunny aiming at Elmer Fudd......what's up mofo Doc?

edutcher said...

You are too good, DBQ.

Kirk Parker said...

Steve K (and Dadvocate),

No no no, the Taurus Judge and its spawn are terribly stupid ideas: marketing in search of marks.

(1) .410 shells are (comparatively) tiny; the number of large-enough-to-stop-a-pit-bull buckshot pellets that fit in one is so small that you might as well be shooting well-aimed .38s, .357s (my choice) or .45s.

(2) The sort of targets they really are adequate for (snakes) can be addressed just as well with shotshells for your .38/.357/.45, though if .45LC really does it for you then there's nothing per se wrong with a handgun chambered for that. The extra length of cylinder required to chamber .410 is pure waste, however.

Methadras said...

If she had a gun she may have at least had a fighting chance. Besides, cops couldn't hit he side of a truck from 5 feet away.

elkh1 said...

If she'd had a gun, would she have won the fight?

Yes, not necessarily killed or maimed them but frightened them away.

bagoh20 said...

When a firefight breaks out, I always jump in the cops' line of fire - safest spot to be.

bagoh20 said...

To be fair, a moving dog is a pretty tough target with a handgun, especially under stress.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

"Pit bull terriers 'killed' Los Angeles jogger - police"

Anyone else struck by the scare-quotes here? I mean, the lady, she dead. No other cause of death than dog bites has been suggested. So did the dogs "kill" her, or did the honest-to-goodness kill her?

bagoh20 said...

"Pit bulls, dare I say it, are a ghetto/macho thing."

Then so are guns, rhythm, and tattoos. Not arguing, just saying so what?

Rit said...

Of course Ann is right. What the woman should have done is tell the dog about her children and pets in order to humanize herself and gain its sympathy.

If that didn't work then she obviously should've soiled herself to become less attractive to the beast.

Only the Lord knows what use a gun would've been.

Seeing Red said...

The woman should have tried to run the dogs down.

Jeff Teal said...

Strange but around everyone knows you don't shoot .410 buck.But .410 bird improves your chances of a hit at a critical 7-10 feet.And enough bird will seriously discombobulate an attack.The ovject of the exercise is to survive the attack.Not to kill the attacker.BTW back when I was in the Navy we used 12ga bird as interior defense ammo.Effective but reduced ricochets inside the skin of a ship.

Big Mike said...

If she'd had a gun, would she have won the fight?

She'd have improved her odds, and tremendously so. Plus the extra weight of the gun increases the cardiovascular effect. However carrying a gun under the armpit, as depicted in the Professor's link, risks injury due to the weight imbalance. If she doesn't carry in the small of her back -- not recommended BTW due to risk of spinal injury if she should fall backwards -- or in her front waistband, then she should add some weight on the other side of her body.

And I agree with Kirk about the effectiveness of .410.

Kirk Parker said...

Jeff,

I wouldn't advise shooting a large dog with .410 birdshot. If it notices, it will just get pissed off.

Seriously, go look at Box'o'Truth or any of the many other real-world tests of shotshells... you won't come away thinking birdshot is good for anything except shooting little birds. For sure, being on board a steel-walled vessel really forces some compromises on you regarding richochets, just like living in a sheet-rock-skinned multi-story apartment forces compromises regarding penetration--but there's absolutely no reason to export those compromised loads to a different environment!

ken in sc said...

Hey Bago, you might know the answer to this. I have read that you can stop a dog attack by sticking a finger in the dogs anus. Is there any truth to this?

Crunchy Frog said...

Anyone else struck by the scare-quotes here? I mean, the lady, she dead. No other cause of death than dog bites has been suggested. So did the dogs "kill" her, or did the honest-to-goodness kill her?

Did it "kill" her, or "kill-kill" her?

Shanna said...

How about not running in the road to begin with?

Not everybody lives in a brand new neighborhood with tons of sidewalks. Mine, for instance, has none. People still manage to walk around and not get run down.

You also have to watch for the ducks on the road. There are signs and everything.

JackOfClubs said...

If she'd had a gun, would she have won the fight?

She may not have "won" in the sense of killing all of the dogs before they injured her. But, having a gun would have increased her odds and may at least have given rescuers time to save her.

With regard to the police missing:
the problem with shooting a dog is people tend to aim too high. Especially people who are trained to aim for center mass, which is usually a good idea on a man-sized attacker. But you have to remember that dogs are lower to the ground (at least, you want them to be!) so the angle of incidence causes the bullet aimed at center mass to pass through muscle and out of the dog's body. Aiming at the base of the neck will cause the bullet to hit the vitals.

Kelly said...

With a gun, perhaps she could have at least scared them off with the noise, if she didn't hit one directly.

I'm sure there are lots of nice pitbulls out there. The pit that attacked my daughter almost taking out her eye was a nice family, type dog. When that nice dog attacked an adult it was finally put down.

Synova said...

"Some luddite, censorious thug styling himself a tech expert thinks it would be a fine idea to regulate printers."

And the 2nd Am. has now become the 1st.

Freaky.

Synova said...

I think that part of the theory of using something with shotgun shells (or salt, or bird shot) in the first chamber (or whatever, no doubt I'm mangling the terminology) is the expectation that the bang will scare the animal, whatever it is, away and there's less chance of a bullet travelling and hitting and killing something that you don't want to hit or kill. If the gun goes bang on a .410 shell and the dogs run, then it's all good.

I don't know how well it would work in practice, but I've certainly heard people say they load a shot gun with shells with increasing lethality. (And certainly, if the barrel is pushed into someone's belly, salt will kill them too.)

bagoh20 said...

"Hey Bago, you might know the answer to this. I have read that you can stop a dog attack by sticking a finger in the dogs anus. Is there any truth to this?"

Even though it's Friday, I'm gonna restrain myself from being a smart ass just this once with that low slow one.

But seriously, it does not work very often. This is the one special thing about Pits. They were originally bred specifically to hang on. Now, that was a long time ago, but it sure seems like a trait SOME of them retained. I never saw another breed that will just hang on forever, until they decide to let go. Their jaws don't lock, as some people believe. Some of them just have a very strong instinct to hold on.

I have 4 Pits at my house almost continuously, and I've worked with well over a hundred at least, and I've only had 1 case where I had to get one to let go of another dog, very small and irritating 10 pound dog who attacked a 75 lb Pit like he had no idea of the size difference.

The Pit put up with it for a while and then just grabbed him in his mouth and was about to do the death shake, when I got to him. I just waited until he calmed down, being careful to not let him shake it, and speaking very softly and calmingly. After about 60 seconds he just dropped the little one who ran back home, and later needed some stitches, but was fine, and smarter after that. I know of other people who have used a "breaker bar" which is a rod of metal or tough plastic, that you slip in the back of their mouth and just pry it open. The hardest thing to do in a dog fight, but what is essential is to not get excited and yell or scream at the dogs. They just get more excited and it escalates. No matter what you are saying, the tone of your voice sounds to them like you are cheering them on.

Calm is always best with dogs. Unless you want them to attack something.

R.A. Crankbait said...

I have a Taurus Judge for the home, the first 2 chambers loaded with .410 self-defense loads (wad and pellet), followed by 3 long-Colts (.45). It is very loud (especially the .410 loads) and the pattern would give you a chance to hit and possibly discourage an oncoming dog. It's also a good snake gun. The shotgun pellets might not stop the assault but you're more likely to hit something you're aiming at without much worry about what happens to the pellets if you miss. If the .410s don't stop the attack the chances are you'll be plenty close enough by that time to put the .45s into them if you're still standing. It is not a lightweight, easy to conceal gun, however, and a bit heavy for walking the dog. If I was jogging or exercising pets in an area prone to feral dog or coyote attacks, I'd definitely have it with me.

bagoh20 said...

After reading the reports, I take back my assertion that I might have been able to stop them without a significant weapon. That's crazy talk.

From what I read, these dogs do not sound like they were trained or socialized, and they must have been in an out-of-control pack mentality where they are basically hunting. That gives them great confidence, which is hard to overcome without superior force. They may even have included abandoned dogs that were living wild in the desert there, and hunting for food. The fact that one came back to attack even after being scared off with a gunshot tells me they were hunting, and probably hungry. Basically a pack of wolves. There may have been only one or two dangerous dogs, but the others will join in even if they would never normally hurt anyone. Even if a poodle was in that pack it would be dangerous, if it didn't get eaten first.

kentuckyliz said...

I saw a guy attacked by a Doberman once. As the dog lunged for him, he grabbed the jaws of the dog and ripped them apart. Ew.

John Lynch said...

The firearms would have been better employed before this happened to shoot all the stray dogs.

A .223 and a predator call would have saved a life.