Felony or Misdemeanor for Using Dog As Deadly Weapon

Felony or Misdemeanor for Using Dog As Deadly Weapon

A dog can be used to inflict bodily injuries on a person, and therefore the use of a dog in that manner can be charged as a crime or an enhancement to a criminal charge. As was stated by one court, «[i]t is well established that an innocuous instrument can become a dangerous instrument when under the circumstances in which it is threatened to be used, it is readily capable of causing death or other serious physical injury.” (People v Garraway (1992) 187 A.D.2d 761, 589 N.Y.S.2d 942.) Under the Model Penal Code, «deadly weapon» is defined to include both inanimate and animate instruments which, in the manner used, are capable of producing death or serious bodily injury. (Model Pen. Code, § 210.0(4).)

Accordingly, since the 1950’s, the use of a dog as a weapon has prompted prosecutors to charge defendants with crimes usually associated with guns and knives.

A video by WCSH-TV tells dramatically about the use of a pit bull to commit robbery and assault, and explains why prosecutors believe that vicious dogs are deadly weapons under the law. The New York Times interviewed Attorney Kenneth M. Phillips for the article, Instruments of Danger in Weapons Case Were Dogs, Authorities Say. Video of Phillips talking about using dogs as weapons is included at the bottom of this page.

In 2016, there was a dramatic surge in crimes committed using pit bulls as an offensive weapon. (See Merritt Clifton, Pit Bull Crime Doubled in 2016.)

Here are 3 cases in which deadly weapon charges were filed against dog owners:

  • A 45-year-old man was charged with violation of the New York gun control law (the Sullivan Act) because of his possession of a huge German shepherd dog that allegedly attacked three patrolmen. (Read the abstract of this 1956 incident from the New York Times.)
  • A youth was charged with child molestation with a deadly weapon, in addition to other felony charges of criminal confinement and intimidation, after using his pit bull to assault a 9-year-old girl in Lake County, Illinois, in 2003. (Read the article in the Chicago Tribune.)
  • A man in Worcester County, Massachusetts, was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon after he unleashed his pit bull to enable it to bite another man, who indeed was bitten on the stomach. (Read the article about this 2012 assault in the Sentinel & Enterprise.)

The California case of People v. Nealis (1991) 232 Cal.App.3d Supp. 1 surveyed the law throughout the USA and concluded «a dog trained to attack humans on command, or one without training that follows such a command, and which is of sufficient size and strength relative to its victim to inflict death or great bodily injury, may be considered a ‘deadly weapon or instrument’.» In Nealis, the defendant commanded her Doberman to attack two victims, and the dog responded by doing so and inflicting significant injuries.

Prosecutors have charged defendants with other, related crimes because of the use of a dog. For example, in People v. Henderson (1999) 76 Cal.App.4th 453, pit bulls were used to threaten police, and the dog owner was charged with a violation of Penal Code section 417.8 (brandishing a deadly weapon). There was testimony from a dog expert that pit bulls as a breed are capable of inflicting great bodily injury. Under the circumstances of that case, the court held that the dogs were deadly weapons, not necessarily because of their breed, but because the defendant was using them as deadly weapons.

Similarly, a dog attack can constitute malicious wounding, which is a felony in some states. See, i.e., Long v. Commonwealth, 379 S.E.2d 473, 8 Va. App. 194 (Va.App. 1989). In the Long case, it also was held that the prosecution is not required to prove that the dog was vicious or trained to attack if the defendant intended to command the dog to attack.

A pit bull owner in California was convicted of a felony and given probation and fines after his dog repeatedly bit and terrorized neighbors. The case of People v. Flores was a prosecution for keeping a «mischievous animal.» California Penal Code section 399 establishes that if a person knows his animal is «mischievous» and fails to exercise ordinary care, and as a result a human being suffers serious bodily injury or death, that person may be convicted of a misdemeanor or felony (up to 4 years in prison). The defendant’s pit bull in the Flores case, named «Blue,» had never bitten anyone or broken free of its confinement; however, the court stated «[t]here was overwhelming evidence that Blue’s aggressiveness, combined with his massive strength and power, made him uncontrollable and a danger to the public.»


Rattlesnake bite: What you should know

A bite from a venomous snake, such as a rattlesnake, is an emergency. If a person is bitten, it is critical they get medical help fast.

Snakes tend to avoid humans but bite only as a last resort when they are threatened or surprised. When a venomous snake bites someone, 911 must be called and that person must get to an emergency room right away.

Snakebites are treatable, however. According to the American Red Cross, of the around 7,000 people bitten by a snake in the United States every year, fewer than five people die.

Fast facts on rattlesnake bite:

  • Rattlesnakes are venomous.
  • Snakes avoid people. They attack if they feel threatened or surprised.
  • A continuing reflex reaction means a snake can still bite several hours after death.
  • If a bite occurs, the area around the wound will swell up and change color.
  • Treatment involves immobilizing the injured body part, cleaning and wrapping the wound, and getting antivenom at a hospital.
  • Without prompt treatment, or if someone has an allergic reaction, rattlesnake bite can be fatal.
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Share on Pinterest Rattlesnakes usually avoid people, and will only bite when they feel threatened.

Rattlesnake bites are painful. The immediate symptoms include:

  • bleeding
  • difficulty breathing
  • blurred vision
  • eyelid drooping
  • low blood pressure
  • nausea and vomiting
  • numbness
  • paralysis
  • rapid pulse
  • change in skin color
  • swelling
  • tingling
  • tissue damage
  • thirst
  • tiredness
  • weakness
  • weak pulse

If a person has been bitten, it is vital to get medical help immediately. The person must be kept calm and given reassurance that the bite can be treated.

What to do

While waiting for help to arrive, the American Red Cross advises to wash the wound and then apply a bandage to slow the spread of venom. The following steps should be taken when doing this:

  • Check for feeling, warmth, and color of the limb and note any changes in skin color and temperature.
  • Place the end of the bandage against the skin and wrap, using overlapping turns. Start at the point farthest from the heart and cover a long body section, such as an arm or calf. To wrap a joint, use figure of eight turns to support it.
  • Check above and below the bite for feeling, warmth, and color, particularly in the fingers and toes.
  • Check the tightness of the bandage so a finger can still pass easily but not loosely underneath it.
  • Keep the injured area still and make sure it is lower than the heart. The person who has been bitten should only walk if absolutely necessary. Carry them to safety if possible.

Once at the hospital, medical staff will administer antivenom medication.

If the snake is already dead, it should be taken to the hospital to show to doctors so the type, and its venom, can be identified.

Be careful of the head when touching and lifting a dead snake, as it can bite from a reflex reaction for several hours after death.

What NOT to do

When treating snakebite, there are some actions not to take. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, these include:

  • allowing the person who has been bitten to become over-exerted
  • applying a tourniquet
  • applying a cold compress
  • cutting into the bite with a knife or razor
  • trying to suck out the venom
  • giving any stimulants or pain medication unless told to by a doctor
  • giving a person who has been bitten anything to eat or drink
  • raising the site of the bite above the person’s heart

Some people can have an allergic reaction to snake venom. This reaction called anaphylaxis or anaphylactic shock can happen immediately or several hours after a person is bitten. Symptoms include:

  • itchy skin with hives and redness
  • swollen face, lips, tongue, and throat, leading to difficulty breathing
  • a rapid heartbeat
  • nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

If the reaction leads to a drop in blood pressure, it can also cause dizziness, confusion, faintness, cold and clammy skin, and even blindness.

Someone who has been bitten by a snake may also go into shock. This is a medical emergency in its own right and has similar symptoms to anaphylaxis.

Symptoms of shock include:

  • faintness and collapsing
  • pale, cold, clammy skin
  • sweating
  • rapid, shallow breath
  • blindness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • drowsiness or loss of consciousness

If the bitten person is showing symptoms of shock, lay them down and raise their legs. Use a coat or blanket to keep them warm.

Rattlesnakes have a rattle or partial rattle, which is composed of interlocking rings. These rings are made of segments of keratin, which is the same material in human fingernails. When a snake vibrates the segments of keratin, they let off a hissing sound as a warning.

There are 30 recognized species of rattlesnake, ranging from 1 to 7 feet in length. Rattlesnakes have heavy bodies and diamond-shaped heads with a characteristic “pit” on each side.

They are found across the U.S., Mexico, and South America. In the U.S., they live in the desert sand dunes of the southwest, the swamplands of the southeast, and the meadows of the northeast. They can live anywhere from sea level up to altitudes of 11,000 feet.

In areas where temperatures drop to 40°F or lower, rattlesnakes may hibernate in the winter. Being cold blooded, they will sunbathe on flat surfaces in the open during the day to warm up. In places where daytime temperatures top 90°F, rattlesnakes tend to be more active at night.

Rattlesnake venom

The exact makeup and strength of the venom depend on the species of the rattlesnake and where it lives. The poisonous liquid is injected rapidly, and the snake can control the amount of venom released.

Venom is produced in glands in the snake’s upper jaw and is passed through the venom duct before being delivered through the creature’s large, hollow fangs.

People are advised to avoid areas where snakes may be hiding, such as under rocks and logs. A person should never pick up or provoke a snake, as they will attack if they feel threatened.

When entering an area where it is hard for a person to see their feet when walking, they should tap the ground or foliage ahead of themselves with a stick. Snakes will try to avoid a person if given enough warning. People should wear long pants and boots if hiking in an area where snakes are known to be.

If someone sees a rattlesnake while hiking, they can stay safe with these tips:

  • do not panic
  • stay at least 5 feet away from the snake
  • do not try to kill the snake, as this can increase the chances of it biting you and is also illegal in some states
  • alert others to the snake and advise them to be cautious and to keep children and pets away

Most of the 7,000 snakebites in the U.S. each year are from rattlesnakes, but fewer than five people die as a result.

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Most of these deaths occur because the person has an allergic reaction, is in poor health, or is unable to get medical attention in time.


Top 10 Most Dangerous Spiders in the World

Spiders are a crucial part of our world’s environment, and their existence in this world started a long time ago. Spiders can inject poison through their fangs, which can cause serious problems.

However, there are some spiders that do not pose much threat, but it is still recommended to stay away. Some spiders are very small in size, and they don’t tend to suck, bite, or cause any serious injuries. Comparing a spider with a mosquito will not be fair because a mosquito is capable of causing more damage than a spider.

On the other hand, our world is crawling with many dangerous spiders, and most of them are listed below.

Most Dangerous Spiders

Table of Contents

Camel Spider

The camel spider rages with terror. Camel spiders are 15cm in length, and their jaws are their main asset. However, despite it being large in size and dangerous, it is not considered to be a spider or a camel. Camel spiders belong to the category of arachnids, and they are called solifuges, and that translates to ‘flee from the sun.’ You will not see camel spiders crawling anywhere in the world; they are only found in deserts. By knowing their favorite place to, they are also known as sun spiders or wind scorpions.

False Widow Spider

Not sure if this is a myth or not, but the false widow spiders were first believed to come to the Earth in fruits in the 1870s. These spiders are mostly found in England, and because of the frequent climate changes, the number of false widow spiders is increasing. Once bitten, the wound area can become the size of a tennis ball. At first, the bite does not seem to cause problems, but after some time, the bite starts to drain the energy of a person. If the bite is not taken seriously, it can cause serious problems and can be only cured through surgery if it gets out of control.

Brazilian Wandering Spider

The Brazilian Wandering spiders are found on Earth in eight various types. These spiders only exist in Brazil, but some of its types are spread in Latin America as well. They are two inches in length and about six inches long legs. The Brazilian spiders are not like other spiders, they don’t bring their prey to them, but they go to their prey themselves. These spiders are known to be very aggressive because they are always waiting to attack vigorously.

Contrary to this, the Brazilian Wandering spider does not pose a threat to humans. Spiders only attack humans when they get trapped or feel concerned. Keeping that mind, you will not want to scare a Brazilian Wandering spider because the attack will be heavy.

Mouse Spider

Out of all the spider bites, the bite of the Mouse spider is considered to be the most vicious. The mouse spider has almost 12 types, and each type’s name comes from their furry and soft abdomens and not from their terrifying attacking techniques. The poison these spiders’ posses can be able to kill a person. Not only does this spider look dangerous, but it actually is very dangerous.

Black Widow Spider

The black widow spider is also known as the redback. It is mostly found in Australia and considered to be the terrifying spiders on Earth. The most unique quality of this spider is its black abdomen that contains red marks. A black widow spider is not something to mess around with. The venom injected by this spider is extremely dangerous, but the amount of venom is very less. The bite of this spider is not much dangerous for a healthy human being, but the bite does affect young children.

Sydney Funnel-Web Spider

The Funnel-Web spiders are usually found in Australia, and there are 43 of them. The name funnel-web spider was inspired by the way these spiders create their webs. They build their webs on wet grounds and build horizontal webs, and each web contains a funnel in the middle. This spider waits for the prey inside the funnel and attacks on the perfect time.

The male funnel-Web spiders are mostly the ones that attack, and their attack is so dangerous that it can kill a person in 15 minutes. Their bite makes a person numb, and an excess amount of saliva starts to come out from the mouth. A person starts to lose their consciousness and can have breathing issues.

Brown Recluse Spider

It is very easy to recognize a Brown Recluse spider because it has a violin mark on its cephalothorax. For this very reason, these spiders are also known as violin spiders or fiddleback. However, the most distinguished feature of the brown recluse spider is that they have 6 eyes instead of having the usual 8 eyes.

These spiders are very small and are found in the Southern parts of the United States. Despite of their small size, they are still able to mark a vicious bite. Those human beings that are sensitive to a spider’s attack can have a breakdown. When we talk about the intensity of the wound, it can become the size of a hand when left untreated.

Yellow Sac Spiders

The Yellow Sac Spiders belong to the Cheiracanthium spectrum, and their species are found in different parts of the world. Their size is half the size of an inch and is mostly pale. Yellow Sac Spiders are fond of the smell of gasoline.

The bite of this Spider is very contagious, and it can cause immediate damage. However, their bite is most dangerous to those who have allergies.

Redback Spider

The Redback spider is a bit similar to the Black Widow Spider, but you will be able to differentiate them by their appearances. The Redback spider only exists in Australia, and you can recognize it with the red stripe on its back. However, the red mark is much intense on the females than on the males. These spiders are not big; in fact, their bodies are the size of a pea.

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The good news is, the bites of redback spiders are not much serious. The symptoms of a redback bite are sweating, muscle weakness, vomiting, and nausea.

Brown Widow Spider

The Brown widow spider is close to the black widow and the redback. The only difference is that the Brown Widow spider has a different color; it is gray and dark brown. There is an hourglass-shaped mark on their abdomen. Brown, widow spiders, are mostly found in tropical places. At first, these spiders were not much in number, but ever since 2003, their quantity has increased a lot. The Brown Widow spiders do not live close to the humans, but they live in those areas where there is no sign of disturbance.

When we talk about their venom, it is more dangerous than a black widow spider. However, the brown widow spiders are not viscous like the black widow spiders, which is why the chances of getting bit by a brown widow are very less. Still, that does not mean you don’t treat a brown widow bite because when left untreated, things can get nasty.


Are Turtles Dangerous To Humans?

Whether or not turtles are dangerous to humans really just depends on the turtle itself.В Some turtles may be more aggressive than others.В Some may carry diseases or infections that can be harmful to humans, while others may even bite and cause some real damage.

One of the more dangerous types of turtles is the snapping turtle. The name “snapping turtle
was given to them for a good reason!В There are two types of species of snapping turtle the common snapping turtle which can be found throughout North America and the Alligator snapping turtle which is mostly restricted to the southern United States.В Both species have the potential to be very dangerous animals.

The Alligator snapping turtle can weight anywhere up to 300 pounds and some have even been documented to bite right through objects such as brooms and hockey sticks. It can easily do the same to a human’s body parts. There have been quite a few cases where snapping turtles have attacked humans that have tried touching them or made them feel threatened in some way. Some people have even lost a finger or another body part to these creatures. When provoked, these turtles will not hesitate to bite and they typically do not let go for quite some time once they do.

These turtles are equipped with great claws that can cause quite the damage.В They are also incredibly strong creatures on their feet.В One of the main reasons they are so aggressive compared to other turtle species is because unlike most turtles, they are unable to retract back into their shell with feeling threatened.В Their plastron (ventral shell) is too small in order for them to complete this task.

Another thing to keep in mind when considering turtles and their harm to humans is that in the United States since 1975 it has become illegal to sell or own a turtle that is less than 4 inches.В They have been banned due to the fact that they pose a high risk of disease, especially concerning children because children are curious and like to stick things in their mouths and many turtles have been known to carry salmonella.

Just because you cannot see the bacteria on the turtle does not mean that it is not there.В Salmonella are naturally occurring bacteria in turtles and those with salmonella do not usually show any signs of illness.В If turtles transmit this to humans it can cause severe illness, hospitalization and even death.В It is especially dangerous for children under the age of five, the elderly, and people who have natural resistance to disease due to pregnancy, cancer, chemotherapy, organ transplants, etc.

The good news is that there are a few things one can do to protect themselves against the potential harm that turtles carry.В The first is to never touch a turtle in the wild that you stumble upon or that seems aggressive.В This is a good way to get attacked by one.

Another way to help prevent danger from occurring is to never have a turtle in a household that includes children under 5, elderly or people with weakened immune systems.В For those households that do have turtles in them, it is crucial to handle all turtles and surfaces that the pet has come in contact with as if they are contaminated since there is the possibility that they could be.В Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water immediately after handling turtles, their tanks, feces, or any surface that they have come in contact with. All surfaces should also be thoroughly washed down.В Do not allow your turtle to roam freely around the homes especially in areas where food is kept.В Kitchen sinks should never be used to bathe a turtle or to wash aquariums out.В If bathtubs must be used for this purpose they should be cleaned out thoroughly with bleach and disinfected immediately after you are done using the bathtub.В Never handle a turtle and an infant at the same time.В These pets should never be allowed in places such as the hospital or in nursing homes.В Food and drinks should never be around the same area that the turtle is kept in.


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