In the UK we’re pretty used to seeing sensationalised headlines such as ‘dog bites owner’, but we’re not used to news stories involving gun toting dogs. In America however, it seems that incidents of dogs shooting their owners are relatively common. There have been three stories in the last three years surrounding ‘gundog’ related crimes.
There was an occasion in 2008 where a man from Oregon was shot when his dog leapt into his boat, landing on his shotgun. A year earlier, a man from Iowa was gunned down by his dog when he left his shotgun next to a fence and the dog stood on it, shooting the man in the leg while he was straddling the fence.
This latest incident occurred last weekend in Los Banos, California. A duck hunter was shot by his black Labrador after the man set the loaded gun down on the ground and the dog stood on it.
The hunter has been criticised by authorities for placing his gun on the floor while it was still loaded, which is something that an experienced hunter should never have done.
Tom MacKenzie, from Merced County Sheriff’s office, said that the unnamed man was embarrassed about the incident to the extent that he doesn’t want his name released:
The guy was pretty adamant about not releasing his name because he’s usually very big on gun safety. He doesn’t want to talk to anyone about what happened, and I have to respect his wishes.
The incident has caused much discussion among hunters, who have condemned the man for leaving a loaded gun unattended. A safety instructor in the field of hunting, Susan Turner, commented:
Anytime that gun leaves your hand it has to be unloaded — period. That’s one of the first things you’re taught.
It boggles my mind that he’s even alive. He’s lucky the pellets didn’t cut him in half.
So, does this latest incident signal the first shots of a war waged by dogs against humans? No, these three tragic accidents all have one thing in common; they were all Americans (the owners, not the dogs).
Dogs may not have the common sense to avoid stepping on a loaded gun, but they’re smart enough to not load the gun in the first place and leave it pointing at themselves while an excited animal jumps around near it!