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

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