I am one of the aforementioned dog nuts. One of my neighbors...nasty woman,,, came over and smacked my shelties nose with a towel for sticking it thru the fence while my dog and another neighbor's dog barked at each other (the neighbor trespassed into someone else's yard to do so. Then she lied about to me...not realizing I was sitting in my backyard reading.)I say this because I still have a memory of how upset I became when it happened.
So I totally get what Dave is saying about how a dog nut would react if someone just pulled out a knife and on first reaction killed a dog. He is right that there would be some crazy stuff happening between the two humans afterwards.
Yet I totally understand where the other side is coming from.
I would never, never, never, never walk my dog without a leash. First, as a sheltie she is a talker...ie she barks. Even tho she is a petite, very beautiful dog that most people want to pet....she does like to bark when she sees other dogs (not an aggressive bark..a.hello bark)..unless she is scared by the dogs at that point she literally stands up and hugs my legs. Second, she is entranced by squirrels....not a good way. She wants to chase them. So, when I walk with her, I absolutely NEVER let her off the leash. I do not want her to run off nor to surprise or unwittingly scare someone.
I hike/ bike in 2 main areas. I have had 4 encounters with dogs off of leashes. 2 of them were no big deal. 1 made me apprehensive. 1 very much terrified me. On 2 of those occasions, I had my leashed dog with me. The one case that worried me... A very large dog came loping around the corner...noticed me and my sheltie and shot toward us. I grabbed up my dog and turned her away from the other one. This big dog, thankfully, wasn't biting yet but get reaching for my dog. I had my hand on its neck and was shoving it away while yelling 'down'. My dog literally was bunched up on my chest with her front arms clutching my neck. This dog while standing was almost as tall as me. The dog wasn't biting nor growling...but i can imagine if it had been. I am not sure what would have happened. The situation took place in seconds. The dog's owner came flying over and yanked him down. Of course, apologies were flying.
The terrifying time occurred while biking. The trail is a 30 mile rails to trail that does go by a few homes near 2 of the designated picnic areas. One home had a large breed white husky like mutt. I had seen the dog and its 'teenaged' pups on a prior occasion lolling around the picnic area while people had food out. The next time there was no one around as I approached. Suddenly, the large adult shot out of the brush after me. It was snarling with all of its teeth bared. Let me tell you, the adrenaline went off the charts. I am not a speedster. I am built for endurance, not speed. But I never have moved that fast. I was standing and pumping those petals like I was Lance Armstrong. I can still remember looking down and seeing how close those teeth were to my calves. That dog could move. It was only total fear...total flight...that kept me from being bit. I love dogs,..but if that dog would have made contact..I would have done some serious head trauma to it. My fear was so strong I would not have been able to control my response.
No one under any circumstances should leave their dog unleashed. Never. No matter how trained. You put other dogs at risk and other people as well. Let your dog enjoy the outdoors at the end of a leash. If you want it to run free, buy a house with a backyard and fence it in. Trails are not the place to let your dogs explore. Even if there is no leash laws, you should be responsible and leash the dog. The first dog, according to the owner, was a very well behaved and well trained dog. Didn't stop it from reacting to my dog. Clearly, the second dog was not leashed nor fenced in. In neither case, is there any posting about keeping animals leashed that I have noted.
I do not feel that lethal force should be the first reaction. But, after being in those 2 situations mentioned above...I can possibly understand why someone could react that way. BUT...I think a reasonable person can tell the difference between a situation where lethal force is needed initially and when it is not. When the dog came at me and my dog, I didn't feel overly threatened. I was worried that a situation might occur because of the 2 dogs. But although it was large and baring down on us, it didn't appear vicious. If it had at any point, I would have fought tooth and nail. That second time on the bike.....yes, I can certainly see where someone would choose lethal force.
But as I said at the beginning......lethal force to a dog can result in some totally irrational behavior from that pet owner...