Three dogs were attacking people in a Roy Utah park.   The three dogs were a Border Collie mix, a Lab mix, and an Aussie mix.  In rural communities, dogs are not generally killed for attacking people, but most rural communities have laws that allow dogs to be killed for “worrying” livestock.

Utah Code 18.3 states, “Any person may injure or kill a dog while: 1) the dog is attacking, chasing, or worrying: a) a domestic animal having commercial value, b) a service animal, or c) any species of hoofed protective wildlife.”

So these three dogs didn’t risk being shot until the dogs moved on from attacking people to “worrying” a neighboring horse.  Don’t get excited, none of the dogs were killed, but one dog was shot with a bean bag round.  All three dogs were captured, with the help of the dog’s owner.  But the notion of shooting the dogs only rises to the occasion of the dogs chasing a horse.

I find these rural animal control codes interesting in that we overlook the actions of dogs biting people and concern ourselves with what is going on in the minds of a herd of cattle.  It isn’t as if you can get a written statement from a cow before you shoot the dog that has entered the cow’s domain.  I think the intent of this law is to catch a dog in the commission of engaging in an attack on cattle, but it goes on to include much more.

If a rancher decided to shoot a dog that was found in the pasture of his (or her) cows, no proof of an attack would be needed because worrying a cow is not a physical action.  Even a dog wanting to play with a cow would likely cause the cow to worry.

I’ve experienced plenty of dogs rushing at me in which I could not determine the dog’s body language to know the dog’s intent.  I have had more than my share of worrying.  This is one of the biggest problems with dog owners: not considering the mindset of the people around them.  They give no thought to people being worried about their dog’s unruly behavior.  It isn’t until the dog bites someone that the dog’s owner is pulled out of his or her stupidity.