In Part I, we saw the actions Clint took to defend his dog from being killed by the neighborhood stray. Now, in Part II you will learn if his actions followed the law. Watch Independent Program Attorney Zack Simmons teach you the law, so you will know what to do if you find yourself in a similar situation.

Paul Ready: Welcome back to Part II of our feature on defending your pets. In Part I, our member Clint was forced to defend his dog against an attack by another bigger dog. Many of you have asked what the law says about how and when you can defend your four-legged friends. The answer will be different depending on the law in your state. That’s why we’ve asked the Independent Program Attorneys in your state to tell us more.

Zack Simmons: Under Oklahoma law, cruelty to animals upon conviction can carry up to five years in the Department of Corrections. All the state has to show is that you killed or injured an animal, and that killing or injury was not an accident. But just because you’re arrested or charged does this make you automatically guilty of that crime? Absolutely not. Just as you’re justified sometimes in protecting yourself against the attack of another, you also have a right to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your property against the attack of an animal. Now, oftentimes we consider dogs members of our family, but under Oklahoma law dogs are considered property. Therefore, you can protect that property. In Clint’s case, harming the animal was necessary to prevent the destruction of his property, and therefore, Clint was found to be justified in his actions. But often times if you change just the smallest fact, the outcome can change. Let’s say in the backyard, instead of your dogs, it’s  the neighbor’s dog digging up your garden or digging your dirt. Is that dog destroying your property? Yes. Are you justified and therefore destroying the dog because he’s digging up your dirt? Probably not in that situation. So just remember your response has to be reasonable in response to the situation that’s presented to you

Paul: For more information on when you can use force in your state, please go to and register to attend one of our events in your area. If you missed Part I of Clint’s story, you can click the link on your screen to see it. And as always if you are not a member we would love for you to join us at


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