My neighbors have a wild dog, they are aware of that hence they put a sign which says "beware of the dog." I try to avoid it but presently there are roadworks near my house so I have to pass by the dog.

Sooner or later it will attack me and I might kill it. Would I go to prison for that?

  • 1
    Since you're in the UK, by what means do you imagine you might defend yourself? My understanding is that almost any lethal weapon is illegal to carry.
    – feetwet
    Dec 6, 2015 at 22:17
  • @feetwet I won't be carrying any weapon of course! I am not pre-planning to kill it but if it attacks me I'll grab and brick and smash its head
    – Ulkoma
    Dec 6, 2015 at 22:19
  • @feetwet if this guy could strangle a bear, I suppose OP could strangle a dog. No weapon necessary.
    – phoog
    Dec 6, 2015 at 23:07
  • @phoog the bear had no owner thus no human laws involved Dec 7, 2015 at 23:29
  • @NewAlexandria Sure. I'm commenting on the necessity of having a weapon, which, in the UK, would be breaking a law even before a hypothetical attack (says feetwet). My point is that the bear incident implies that it is possible to kill a dog without first having to violate a law prohibiting weapons.
    – phoog
    Dec 8, 2015 at 3:15

1 Answer 1


I am not a lawyer and I have never even been to the UK.

You will not go to prison if your neighbor's dog attacks you and it dies as a result of you defending yourself.

You might go to prison and/or owe the owner damages if:

  • You are somewhere you do not technically have a right to be.
  • It can be shown you could have retreated from harm but chose instead to stand your ground.
  • The force you used was deemed excessive - it showed intent to harm the dog more than necessary to protect yourself
  • You contributed to the confrontation in a way that a reasonable person would think might cause trouble

You might be able to protect yourself from problems by:

  • taking pictures or videos of the dog behaving badly or aggressively
  • note dates and times when you observe the dog behaving badly or aggressively
  • formally contact the dog's owner with your concerns and/or evidence in which you assert your rights to access the areas you walk through and your right to defend yourself in the event that you are attacked by the dog
  • if possible, change your route or schedule to avoid the problem entirely

Good luck

  • Avoiding a publicly-accessible/owned corridor because of another person's actions (uncontrolled animal) can constitute material damage by that person. So "change your route" has other implications and I would leave it out. Dec 7, 2015 at 23:33

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.