This happened on a neighbor's property. The dog was in the front yard. A different neighbor that didn't own the property came out of their house with a gun. Fired at the dog once, the dog turned and ran away, back to its house. The owner of the dog was coming and in sight of the neighbor with the gun, before the shot was fired. The neighbor fired at the dog again when the dog was running towards the owner. So the second shot was in the direction of the owner. The owner then crossed the property line to confront the neighbor that still has the gun. They both are on someone else's property and the dog owner then grabs the neighbor's shirt. Words were exchanged, and both parties walked away.

Would the neighbor be able to press charges against the dog owner?

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    There are a lot of missing details in your story and this isn't really what you asked, but in most US states with a castle doctrine the property owner or resident can authorize other people to defend the property. So depending on the actions of the dog the shooter may have been acting legally.
    – jesse_b
    Commented Feb 25 at 14:26
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    A simple answer to your simple question title though is yes. Grabbing someone else's shirt is battery unless done in self defense.
    – jesse_b
    Commented Feb 25 at 14:31
  • @jesse_b or in defense of others.
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 24 at 22:26

1 Answer 1


the dog owner then grabs the neighbors shirt

If done intentionally, and without consent, this makes out the offence of assault. See Criminal Code, s. 265; R. v. Lewis, 2008 ONCJ 249 (accepting that grabbing of a shirt can be assault).

However, the Supreme Court of Canada has left open the possibility that there is a de minimis defence available in Canadian law (discussed at R. v. W.(C.D.), 2016 NSPC 31, para. 18–20). There may also be other defences available.

In any case, a charging decision would be made at the discretion of the Crown prosecutor or police (depending on the province). In this decision, they will consider the likelihood of conviction and whether a charge is in the public interest. The victim cannot dictate the outcome of this decision.

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