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Man Shoots Husky Dog Video

The shootings of two Siberian huskies a week ago came under new scrutiny Friday as Orange County investigators watched a YouTube video showing an armed businessman who said he was protecting himself from "wolves" he thought were trying to kill a newborn calf.

Up to 60 people saw the gunfire in a pasture near Lake Nona on May 19. The continuing debate over what happened pits pet lovers against ranchers in a city-meets-country impasse.

Last week, deputy sheriffs concluded that Orlando businessman Christopher Comins acted legally after developer Daryl Carter asked him to kill dogs chasing cattle on Carter-owned land on Narcoossee Road.

Both dogs survived, despite four bullets hitting Raley and three bullets hitting Hoochie, who lost an eye.


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"This video wasn't available to us at the time," sheriff's spokeswoman Cpl. Susan Soto said Friday in explaining the decision to reopen an investigation by the Sheriff's Office.

"The outcome may be the same," Soto said. "But we want look deeper into this and possibly reinterview witnesses."

Florida property owners have the right to protect livestock from wild dogs and unleashed pets.

But cries of outrage filled animal-rights Web sites and chat rooms after the videotaped shooting was posted last week on YouTube by an Irish tourist who had stopped to watch the dogs as they encircled the cows.

Viewers and some witnesses said the dogs never threatened Comins.

"Oh, my God. Oh, my God," the tourist says on the video as a lone man walks into the pasture, draws a handgun and begins shooting the huskies. "Absolutely unbelievable. That's . . . America for you. Guns!"


Dog owner intervened

The shooting stopped after the dogs' owner, Christopher Butler, jumped a fence and ran to his wounded pets.

Butler, who lives about a mile from the pasture, said Friday that his dogs had run away from him an hour before the shooting and should not have been off their leashes. But to him, no explanation can justify shooting his pets as they scampered for safety, he said.

"The dogs are idiots. They're beautiful, but they're just like big babies. If the cattle had chased them, they would have run a mile," said Butler, who raced to the pasture after a neighbor told him he had seen the dogs. "I mean, I was there and screaming for them to come. But he just shot and shot and shot, and he knew I was there."

Comins disagreed Friday, saying he stopped shooting as Butler arrived.

He said he thought the dogs were wolves, as did others among the bystanders watching the scene along Narcoossee Road, according to interviews Friday. In a three-way telephone conversation with his lawyer, Comins told the Orlando Sentinel what he told deputies last week, that he shot the dogs when they turned and began to run toward him.

His perception differs from that of many viewers of the video.

"I'm not happy about any of what's happened and certainly wish that none of this ever happened. And had the man had control of his animals and not let them run free, they would never have encircled those cows and tried to get at those calves," Comins said.

"I've been a dog owner all my life, and I own several right now. I wouldn't harm anything without reason."

The owner of CustomFab, a company that builds special steel-pipe products for NASA, Walt Disney World and other customers, Comins has been a property investor with Carter and Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty. All three attend the same prayer group.

Carter and the owner of the cattle, Laura Rutherford, could not be reached for comment Friday evening. Both asked Comins to kill the dogs because they were harassing the cows, according to sheriff's reports.


Witnesses disagree

One of the witnesses reached Friday said Comins stepped in after bystanders at the edge of the pasture waited more than two hours for someone to rescue a newborn calf the dogs were trying to reach inside a circle of larger cows.

"I've had to shoot cattle, unfortunately, after they've been attacked like that by dogs," said Dave Tindall of Orlando. "What happened had to end the way it did. It had to be done for a defenseless animal that had no way of escaping those dogs. If night had fallen, they wouldn't have gone home hungry."

But another witness, a nurse visiting from North Carolina, saw no reason for Comins to shoot.

"The dogs were not doing anything to him. They were just facing the cows," said Patty Yang of Raleigh. "That's the bad part I think about: The dogs tried to run away. But the shooter wouldn't give up. He just continued to shoot the dogs."
 

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I hate to make decisions from only a small piece of video but it looks like the shooter had poor judgment at the least. The dogs did not appear to be aggressive against the cattle nor do they appear to be aggressive against the shooter. If the shooter was aware of the owner, he should have had the owner remove the dogs, IMO.

I would need more than just that video to make a definitive judgment.


-Brian
 

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More Info on shooting

The shootings of two Siberian huskies a week ago came under new scrutiny Friday as Orange County investigators watched a YouTube video showing an armed businessman who said he was protecting himself from "wolves" he thought were trying to kill a newborn calf.

Up to 60 people saw the gunfire in a pasture near Lake Nona on May 19. The continuing debate over what happened pits pet lovers against ranchers in a city-meets-country impasse.

Last week, deputy sheriffs concluded that Orlando businessman Christopher Comins acted legally after developer Daryl Carter asked him to kill dogs chasing cattle on Carter-owned land on Narcoossee Road.

Both dogs survived, despite four bullets hitting Raley and three bullets hitting Hoochie, who lost an eye.


Related links
Son, mother barred from owning dogs after bestiality complaint

"This video wasn't available to us at the time," sheriff's spokeswoman Cpl. Susan Soto said Friday in explaining the decision to reopen an investigation by the Sheriff's Office.

"The outcome may be the same," Soto said. "But we want look deeper into this and possibly reinterview witnesses."

Florida property owners have the right to protect livestock from wild dogs and unleashed pets.

But cries of outrage filled animal-rights Web sites and chat rooms after the videotaped shooting was posted last week on YouTube by an Irish tourist who had stopped to watch the dogs as they encircled the cows.

Viewers and some witnesses said the dogs never threatened Comins.

"Oh, my God. Oh, my God," the tourist says on the video as a lone man walks into the pasture, draws a handgun and begins shooting the huskies. "Absolutely unbelievable. That's . . . America for you. Guns!"


Dog owner intervened

The shooting stopped after the dogs' owner, Christopher Butler, jumped a fence and ran to his wounded pets.

Butler, who lives about a mile from the pasture, said Friday that his dogs had run away from him an hour before the shooting and should not have been off their leashes. But to him, no explanation can justify shooting his pets as they scampered for safety, he said.

"The dogs are idiots. They're beautiful, but they're just like big babies. If the cattle had chased them, they would have run a mile," said Butler, who raced to the pasture after a neighbor told him he had seen the dogs. "I mean, I was there and screaming for them to come. But he just shot and shot and shot, and he knew I was there."

Comins disagreed Friday, saying he stopped shooting as Butler arrived.

He said he thought the dogs were wolves, as did others among the bystanders watching the scene along Narcoossee Road, according to interviews Friday. In a three-way telephone conversation with his lawyer, Comins told the Orlando Sentinel what he told deputies last week, that he shot the dogs when they turned and began to run toward him.

His perception differs from that of many viewers of the video.

"I'm not happy about any of what's happened and certainly wish that none of this ever happened. And had the man had control of his animals and not let them run free, they would never have encircled those cows and tried to get at those calves," Comins said.

"I've been a dog owner all my life, and I own several right now. I wouldn't harm anything without reason."

The owner of CustomFab, a company that builds special steel-pipe products for NASA, Walt Disney World and other customers, Comins has been a property investor with Carter and Orange County Mayor Rich Crotty. All three attend the same prayer group.

Carter and the owner of the cattle, Laura Rutherford, could not be reached for comment Friday evening. Both asked Comins to kill the dogs because they were harassing the cows, according to sheriff's reports.


Witnesses disagree

One of the witnesses reached Friday said Comins stepped in after bystanders at the edge of the pasture waited more than two hours for someone to rescue a newborn calf the dogs were trying to reach inside a circle of larger cows.

"I've had to shoot cattle, unfortunately, after they've been attacked like that by dogs," said Dave Tindall of Orlando. "What happened had to end the way it did. It had to be done for a defenseless animal that had no way of escaping those dogs. If night had fallen, they wouldn't have gone home hungry."

But another witness, a nurse visiting from North Carolina, saw no reason for Comins to shoot.

"The dogs were not doing anything to him. They were just facing the cows," said Patty Yang of Raleigh. "That's the bad part I think about: The dogs tried to run away. But the shooter wouldn't give up. He just continued to shoot the dogs."
 

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The dogs did not appear to be being aggressive from the cameras perspective...hat said...I was not there...I was not in the field with the dogs...so it's hard to second guess someones decisions.

It did not LOOK like it was necessary to shoot the dogs...but maybe AT or towards them to scare them off...because they weren't scared off just by the mans presence...though we don't really know if he tried to scare them off in other ways.
 

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If I was the shooter in that situation I think I would shoot too. Unless the dogs are wagging their tail at you their is no way to tell their intentions. The owner has the responsibility to keep them an a leash or secured in his own yard. Having dogs is a big responsibility and should be treated as such.
 

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From what I see on the video the first dog actually appears to be running past the shooter. At no point did it look as if the shooter was in danger. I can understand the ranchers point of view but I would think that most people could tell the difference between wolves and domesticated dogs. I don't know from that short video it looks as if the shooter had the intent to shoot regardless of the danger he may or may not have been in. If I was in the same situation I don't think I could have pulled the trigger until there was no doubt in my mind that those dogs had injured the cattle or had come directly at me. But I have three dogs of my own
 

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I don't believe he thought they were wolves. He could have called animal control, especially since a heffer is quite capable of defending her own calf (I was chased by one for trying to untangled her's from a fence.)
 

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Claiming that he thought they were wolves is total BS...there are no wolves in the wild in Florida. He'd have a better chance of having to shoot at a panther in this state than at a wolf.

I wouldn't be surprised to find out that there was some long-standing feud between these two...I just can't imagine that it was necessary to shoot those dogs, and frankly, the rancher was not too bright to do this in front of a crowd with videocameras, whether he was justified or not.

But this situation begs the question:

Could you legally use deadly force to protect your pet from a deadly attack by a BG? If some a-hole came onto your property and started shooting at your dogs, would you be justified in using deadly force in their defense? :confused:
 

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That's why I'm asking...I know that legally, dogs are just property. But they are also living beings, not just some replaceable inanimate object. Would you have to sit by helplessly because you can't use deadly force to protect mere "property"?
 

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Are they legally your property?

You are entitled to defend your property, I believe.
Not with deadly force. However, if some asshat is on my property discharging a weapon, he is a threat to ME, and had better be moving faster than I can get a flash sight picture.
 

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That's why I'm asking...I know that legally, dogs are just property. But they are also living beings, not just some replaceable inanimate object. Would you have to sit by helplessly because you can't use deadly force to protect mere "property"?
I say you can defend your dogs as you would a human. The LEO's consider their K9 an officer.
 

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I say you can defend your dogs as you would a human. The LEO's consider their K9 an officer.
I hope and pray you never have to find that you're incorrect.
 

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That's why I'm asking...I know that legally, dogs are just property. But they are also living beings, not just some replaceable inanimate object. Would you have to sit by helplessly because you can't use deadly force to protect mere "property"?
790.15 makes it against the law to discharge a firearm in many places. One of the exceptions to this law is in defense of your life or property.
"This section does not apply to a person lawfully defending life or property"

I believe you are allowed to defend your property by law.
 

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there are no wolves in the wild in Florida.
Not quite true. There are a few wolves and wolf hybrids that have gotten loose from breeders in this state. That said every wolf or hybrid I have seen has been smaller than either of those two huskies so I agree with you about thinking they were wolves.
 

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Florida Statute 776...not trying to be a smart ass, but defense of property is not a justifiable use of deadly force. This isn't Texas.

http://www.flsenate.gov/STATUTES/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=Ch0776/ch0776.htm

:drinks
I'm not too sure how to parse this statement. It seems you can use force to protect your property but they have a twisted structure that makes it hard for me to understand.

"776.031 Use of force in defense of others.--A person is justified in the use of force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate the other's trespass on, or other tortious or criminal interference with, either real property other than a dwelling or personal property, lawfully in his or her possession or in the possession of another who is a member of his or her immediate family or household or of a person whose property he or she has a legal duty to protect. However, the person is justified in the use of deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person does not have a duty to retreat if the person is in a place where he or she has a right to be. "

This is how I think it parses. You can use force, other than deadly force, to stop criminal interference with your real property or to stop trespass. I figure if the bad guy is on my property shooting my dog, that's got to be considered trespass. I think a dog would fall under real property. I am not sure.

If the person acts in a threatening manner his actions become a forcible felony under either aggravated assault or aggravated battery justifying deadly force.

Personally, if somebody starts shooting at my dog I'll do my best to stop them legal or not. Beyond the fact that he's shooting at what I consider to be a member of my family, I'm going to figure that he's coming after me next.

As in many cases, a DA and a judge could just have a hair across their butt and decide to prosecute the case regardless of how I interpret the law.
 

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I'm not too sure how to parse this statement. It seems you can use force to protect your property but they have a twisted structure that makes it hard for me to understand.

"776.031 Use of force in defense of others.--A person is justified in the use of force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to prevent or terminate the other's trespass on, or other tortious or criminal interference with, either real property other than a dwelling or personal property, lawfully in his or her possession or in the possession of another who is a member of his or her immediate family or household or of a person whose property he or she has a legal duty to protect. However, the person is justified in the use of deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony. A person does not have a duty to retreat if the person is in a place where he or she has a right to be. "

This is how I think it parses. You can use force, other than deadly force, to stop criminal interference with your real property or to stop trespass. I figure if the bad guy is on my property shooting my dog, that's got to be considered trespass. I think a dog would fall under real property. I am not sure.

If the person acts in a threatening manner his actions become a forcible felony under either aggravated assault or aggravated battery justifying deadly force.

Personally, if somebody starts shooting at my dog I'll do my best to stop them legal or not. Beyond the fact that he's shooting at what I consider to be a member of my family, I'm going to figure that he's coming after me next.

As in many cases, a DA and a judge could just have a hair across their butt and decide to prosecute the case regardless of how I interpret the law.
That's using the old noodle, my friend. Yes, you can use force to protect property, but not DEADLY force. Now you have to think about escalation of force, also. Some asshat is breaking into your car in your driveway (not a felony) and you go out and confront him with a firearm...situation escalates and you drop him...could be a huge problem for you.

Like I said in my previous post in response to the original premise...if Captain Iain'trealBright is on my property with a firearm, shooting my dog or not, he's a threat to ME (fear of death/great bodily harm)...apply your own solution here.

...and you're right. A judge/SA isn't going to care how WE interpret a statute, that's they're job. The statutes are what they are. You can't interpret them to mean what you THINK is right.

Find a good CD atty in your area that has experience in firearms issues. Pay for an hour of his/her time. Show up with a list of questions and ask away. It's well worth the money.

Have you read Gutmacher's book?
 

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IMHO

1. the guy is a dumb : censored . PERIOD. The huskies were wearing collars that clearly marked them as k-9s.
2. he used DEADLY FORCE even before trying to scare them away .they retreated but he still fired even as they became no threat to him or the livestock.
3. he should be charged animal cruelty charges, and the owner should be fined for his dogs being loose.
 
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