A person who shoots a dog is damaging the property of the dog’s owner and can be charged with the offence of criminal damage. A conviction could lead to a fine, imprisonment, a compensation order and the revocation of the shotgun certificate and/or firearms certificate of the offender. The moral, therefore, is only to shoot a dog as a last resort.

That said, the owner of livestock, which includes domestic poultry such as yours, has a defence at law to a civil claim for shooting a marauding dog, providing the shooting is really for the protection of the livestock and the police are notified within 48 hours. Also, it is a defence to a criminal damage charge to show you had reasonable excuse, which would apply in your case.

At law, then, you can shoot marauding dogs without being convicted of criminal damage or being sued for damages. Be warned, however: you are likely to stir up such a hornets’ nest that you will wish you had never seen the wretched dogs in the first place, let alone killed them.

  • sandra mcneil

    my dogs got out through someone opening my door they wereshot,the police said there was no damage to the sheep,they were friendly and had on there collars and tags with identification are they allowed to do this in scotland.

  • sandra mcneil

    a boy who was doing deliveries for our usual manjust ope3ned my door wide and let my dogs out my key was left in my door for my daughter to ome in later,he had a delivery for another person along the road from me ,i shouted out the window to wait but he wasstanding in my hall i telephoned the polie right away and all through the night the polie came up in the morning with thier collars and said they had been stot there was no damage to the sheep ,they were very nie animals and had been chiped and had on there id the police said he couldnt forsee my lovely dogs would be killed so i cant charge him he was the person whos negligence started it all of. he should never had been at my door to start with and surely the shooter could see the great condition they werein and saw the name on the tags or even called the police who would have said fine we know who belong to .the grief in me is hurting so much.

  • Robyn Heap

    Not all owners of dog’s are irresponsible. My two Mastiff’s got lost in a snow storm on our land and was shot dead by a spiteful neighbour, who did not report the killings to the Police, hid the bodies and hoped i did not find out. When I was tipped off and confronted this neighbour, he said they had been worrying. YET no dead sheep, no injured animals, no Vet’s reports etc. Before you say ‘oh he has a right to protect his stock’ there is a big difference in protecting your stock and just killing for the hell of it.