Can I Pepper Spray My Neighbor’s Dog: Is this Illegal?

can i pepper spray my neighbors dog

If you live around neighbors that have dogs who are unfriendly or roam your neighborhood as they please, simply leaving your house everyday can be a scary experience. Being able to defend yourself from a dog attack is vital, and having pepper spray can mean the difference between life or death. You might be wondering though “Can I pepper spray my neighbor’s dog without getting in trouble“?

Pepper spraying your neighbor’s dog is perfectly legal, provided it’s only done in self defense. Using pepper spray on dogs that aren’t showing signs of aggression or posing an imminent threat is generally considered a despicable act, and you could face animal cruelty charges.

The use of pepper spray against dogs should only be reserved only when extremely necessary, such as an attack. In this article, we will discuss what pepper spray does to dogs and if it’s illegal to use it against them.

Is It Illegal To Pepper Spray A Dog?

Pepper spray is generally legal to use in all 50 states, but that doesn’t make it less of a weapon. With that in mind, it’s best to still be mindful about its use. Using pepper spray for the wrong reasons can still get you in trouble though.

With that being said, you need to be familiar with your local laws regarding the use of pepper spray.

In a previous article, we discussed what you can do in case your neighbor’s dog becomes aggressive and attacks you. One of the suggested ways to defend yourself from an attack is to use a pepper spray.

So, to answer the question above, using pepper spray on a dog is not illegal.

However, it will still depend on the situation. For one, pepper spraying is one of the best ways to stop a dog attack. This means if you perceive your life is in danger, then you have the right to use the pepper spray to protect yourself.

In contrast, if you use pepper spray on an unleashed dog that happens to be on your property and is not showing any signs of aggression, that could be tagged as inappropriate use. Likewise, if a dog is barking incessantly and you want to silence it.

As long as the pepper spray is used for self-defense without the intent to hurt the dog, you shouldn’t worry about facing animal cruelty charges. Use pepper spray cautiously if you have to use it.

When Should You Use Pepper Spray On Dogs?

Below is a list of situations where the use of pepper spray on dogs is justified:

  • When you are jogging, running, walking, biking alone and the dog chases and bites you
  • When your neighbor’s dog wanders into your property and behaves aggressively towards you
  • If you see a dog actively hurting a person, especially a kid
  • If you see a dog mauling another dog or perhaps animals in your farm

When Should You NOT Use Pepper Spray On Dogs

Below is a list of situations where the use of pepper spray isn’t necessary:

  • If you see an unleashed dog wandering outside your fenced-in property and is behaving aggressively. If you know the dog, call the owner instead. 
  • If you see a dog wandering around your property but is obviously not displaying signs of aggression
  • If a dog’s continuous barking annoys you and you want to silence it
  • If you are passing by a property and the owner’s dog keeps barking at you

Sometimes, you can’t really know if a dog intends to harm you or not. Some dogs can jump at you but only because they want to play. And since it may be hard to tell, it’s best to use your own judgment and only take out your spray if you know you are in danger.

Does Pepper Spray Work On Dogs?

People who usually experience being chased by dogs or getting nipped at are usually runners or joggers, walkers, cyclists, and delivery personnel. Based on general testimonials from these people, a pepper spray does work on dogs and is the most effective way for them to leave you alone.

If you constantly experience being confronted by an aggressive dog, it would be wise if you have a dog pepper spray with you. And if you are concerned about animal cruelty, don’t be because it’s the more humane option rather than beating the dog up or shooting it – which some people have done. 

What Happens If You Pepper Spray A Dog?

When it comes to dog attacks, pepper spray is considered the most humane way to deal with the situation. Spraying an aggressive dog with pepper spray will likely result in irritation, with symptoms such as  burning, itching, and swelling in the eyes, ears, and throat.

This will consequently incapacitate the animal, but without any long-term health effects.

Can Pepper Spray Kill A Dog?

Pepper sprays don’t kill a dog. It is formulated to stop the animal on its tracks, make it go away or retreat but it will not kill or cause permanent damage to the animal. Most pepper sprays have only a small amount of the active ingredient that will make it an effective canine deterrent.

Will Pepper Spray Stop A Dog Fight?

Pepper spray can also be an effective tool to break up a fight between dogs. This can come in handy especially if you’re out peacefully walking with your dog and some group of dogs decide to gang up on you.

But keep in mind that if you use this method, your dog might actually get sprayed in the process. Since it’s a spray, you can’t control the burst of mists that comes out. When you intended to aim it at other dogs, you might also unintentionally spray your own dog with it. 

Will pepper spray stop dogs from fighting? Yes. Should you use it to break up a dog fight? No, since you might hit your dog as well. If it’s necessary to break up a dog fight with a pepper spray, do it with extreme caution.

Will Pepper Spray Stop A Pitbull?

Pitbulls have long been reputed as one of the most aggressive and dangerous dog breeds. In some countries, this breed is banned; in the U.S., it is still a popular dog to own. But according to Forbes, the pit bull is accounted for the most fatal attacks in the country.

It’s worth noting that all dogs – not just pit-bulls can easily become aggressive and attack. If you had an unpleasant encounter with a pit-bull, you can rest your worries and become a lot more confident if you have a pepper spray with you.

What Is The Best Pepper Spray For Dogs

It’s worth noting that the safety of pepper spray will still depend on the kind you use. If you are a jogger or a delivery personnel who always encounters threatening or attacking dogs, then you should have pepper spray that’s formulated especially for dogs.

Pepper spray for dogs is not as strong as pepper spray intended for human attackers. That’s because a dog’s senses are a lot more sensitive than a human’s.

As a result, it would only take low doses of the spray for it to be effective. In most pepper sprays for dogs, the amount of the active ingredient is usually less than half of the formulation meant for humans.

There are several pepper sprays formulated for dogs. Some recommendations include:

My Neighbor Sprayed My Dog: What Should I Do?

If you’ve ever considered pepper spraying a neighbor’s dog, keep in mind that they could retaliate by spraying your dog as well. You may be wondering at this point what you can do about it, and if taking legal action against your neighbor is an option.

My Neighbor Is Pepper Spraying My Dog, Can I Sue Them?

You can file a lawsuit against a neighbor who pepper sprayed on your dog. However, you have to know the reason behind your neighbor’s actions. If your neighbor did it in self-defense, then you would understand why he had to do it.

Still, your neighbor has to prove that your dog was indeed aggressive towards him.

If your dog has been pepper sprayed for no reason, you can go ahead and sue your neighbor. Just like this woman from Burton, who got arrested for pepper spraying a dog who barked at her.

For one, the dog was inside its property and was only doing its job of barking at someone passing by. The use of pepper spray in this situation is totally unjustifiable.

As for the treatment, follow the steps below to help your dog:

  • Avoid touching the area where your dog was sprayed. The pepper oil can easily spread to other parts – and you may even get it too.
  • Providing immediate relief can be challenging, but flushing the eyes, nose, and mouth with water is the best way.
  • You need to hose down your dog for as long as he can tolerate it.
  • Taking your dog to the vet is only necessary if after several times of flushing didn’t provide any relief.

Conclusion: Can I Pepper Spray My Neighbor’s Dog?

Pepper spray can be a helpful self-defense tool against dog attacks. Many cyclists, runners, and deliverymen swear by its effectiveness. And if you have to use it against a neighbor’s dog, make sure you can justify it.

You have to provide enough evidence that the neighbor’s dog was threatening you or behaving aggressively towards you. If not, pepper spraying your dog just because it annoys you will result in you getting fined or arrested.

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