After dog shoots man, should we arm animals?

The only way to beat a man without a gun is a dog with a gun.

Perhaps I have mangled the NRA’s dictum marginally, but an incident in Florida has moved me to paroxysms of elevated thought I never imagined possible.

A dog shot a man.

I just wanted to leave that there as one lone sentence, deserving of its own glory.

In this case, at least as Highlands Today barks it, the dog didn’t mean to shoot the man. Though how would anyone really know?

Perhaps the dog was fed up of the man’s whining at him. Perhaps he was fed up of not being fed in the way that he would wish. Perhaps he was just having a bad day and wanted someone, anyone to just do something nice for him.

The facts seem to be that a gun was in the man’s truck in Sebring, Fla.

Trucks often have guns. Especially in Florida. This gun, according to its owner, Gregory Dale Lanier, was supposed not to have been loaded. There again, Lanier was reportedly also surprised that his was a 9mm weapon.

He insists, though, that the dog kicked it — allegedly accidentally — and he was shot in the leg.

I know that some wag will believe the dog should be protected under Florida’s Stand Your Hound law.

Perhaps he was, as the pooch was not arrested by the police for any sort of crime.

But I’m worried that the NRA is missing yet another PR opportunity to expand its aegis.

This dog apparently shoots deer. Allegedly.

This dog apparently shoots deer. Allegedly.

One ought to deduce from these facts that the gun was, indeed, loaded. Which put the dog in immense danger.

If the barrel had been pointing in a different direction, it might have been the poor dog himself who was shot, rather than his possibly hapless owner.

How would he have been able to defend himself?

And what is a defenseless dog supposed to do anyway if his owner’s had a bad day and decides that he’s going to take it out on his dog with 9mm or even more?

It seems clear that part of a dog’s training should include the ability to handle and fire a weapon.

This is not a greatly more complicated maneuver than running after a ball and fetching it or grabbing a bone in your teeth and grinding it to dust.

It seems entirely possible that dogs would be able to use their noses to slip bullets into the chamber and — as this dog has largely proved — all a dog then needs to do is to make sure the safety catch is off and pull the trigger with paw or even tongue.

One has surely seen far more dexterity on various talk shows when trainers bring out dogs who sing the national anthem, while crocheting a cardigan.

Unlike humans, dogs are not known to be gratuitously cruel. (Well, unless they’re pitbulls and do we really need them around any more?)

Society can, therefore, trust dogs with guns rather more readily than it can trust humans.

Yes, there might be a few incidents that, in the teething stages, could result in a few accidental shootings or maimings.

But arming dogs — and perhaps other domestic pets — might redress the balance of what is sometimes a delicate relationship between man and beast.

It often seems that it is man who is the beast and the beast who is ridiculously tolerant.

If we arm the tolerant, as a first step in taking the guns away from the intolerant, the world might become less, well, dog eat dog. And man shoot man.


Image: JackTheBeagle/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk