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Dog-shooting tragic: But let's not rush to change law

January 10. 2013 10:58PM

Regarding the sad story of the Hampstead homeowner's dog being shot and killed for annoying a neighbor's penned rabbits, first off, we hope New Hampshire legislators resist the temptation to pass another law.

Yes, the law allows what the neighbor did. No, we don't think it was an appropriate response. If, as the dog owners claim, this was the first such incident, then shooting was a gross overreaction.

But sometimes individuals do irrational things and other people suffer the consequences. Differences are either resolved or they are not. But they are often best left to the parties involved and not to the government jumping in with its own irrational response by trying to fix things with a law.

The rabbit owner said he shot the dog (with what gun-control zealots will no doubt call an "assault" rifle) because his bunnies are prone to heart attacks if startled. And the crack of an AR-15 semi doesn't startle them? Perhaps not. According to the dog owners, the bunny man regularly does target shooting on his property.

The dog owners want the law changed to remove one's right to shoot a dog if it merely is "worrying" someone's animals, as opposed to "wounding or killing" them.

That "worrying" is a pretty broad term, to be sure. But it has its purpose. No doubt farmers and others have had experience with hens that wouldn't lay and cows whose milk production went down because of dogs. And if Bambi were being chased through the snow by a pack of dogs, would anyone object to shooting the dogs, even if they had not caught up with the deer?

We mourn the loss of Sadie, the Brittany spaniel. But beware the unintended consequences of changing laws as a result.

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