Dealing With Fox in NC
Hey all. Just a question. Little long, too, sorry. I've got a fox that has taken up residence in my backyard. He's apparently living in the scrub. He came out this afternoon and was rolling in the grass and munching on something, just seemed to be generally enjoying himself. But he's a big guy. I think he's a silver fox, although he does have plenty of orange in him. We're thinking he may be a mix. He does come and go, this isn't the first time he's appeared, but we think he was drawn back because our resident wild rabbits recently had babies.
A few hours after I saw him I needed to walk my dog. The dog walks around the property most of the time due to a handicap. She made it around the house before me (still on a leash) and tried to take off running. When I made it around the side, I saw the fox turn and run. He stopped about 15 feet from us and began coming back toward us, so I drew my concealed pistol in case he attacked. He didn't; he turned and ran off into the scrub area again. And I went back to trying to get my dog back under control as she still wanted to go after him.
Here's the question. If the fox had come at us and attacked and I had opened fire, what kind of a legal issue would that cause me? Here are the facts: 1. We were standing between my house and the neighbor's house, not more than ten feet apart as it is a housing development 2. There is a law in the town against firing guns in town limits, although I suspect defense from an attack is a whole other story. 3. There is another development behind us, about 150 feet from my yard.
Would there be a difference if the fox was attacking my dog or me?
We have contacted animal control on a regular basis, as have most of our neighbors, because there are a lot of pets and even more children in this development. We've got two coyotes here, too. Same response for both coyote and fox... no one ever comes out. Not even after my one neighbor was chased and attacked by a coyote on his front lawn. Today the fox was a little close and I didn't even think about it, my pistol was out before I really thought it over. So I'm curious. What steps should I take and/or what could be the issue if I did shoot the fox during an attack?
get a silencer and end its existence quickly with no witnesses
I don't know what NC law is so won't go there.
We have Fox, Racoon, Skunks and Coyotes in my area. Those that become a problem usually run into a .22 dia object. Some find their way into Have-a -heart traps or some home brew traps we make. Those that are trapped get a long truck ride into the wilderness.
I haven't known one to return from the long rides yet.
That is probably your best bet.
My dog is big enough to take care of herself except for the occasional 400 # Black Bear. Fortunately they have all run away cause she thinks she is big enough.
Well, Lily did ok and I think she would be ok, but she did lose half her brain to a stroke. So I don't want to chance it. It would kill my mom. Lily is her dog.
I looked through NC General Statutes Chapter 14 and did not see anything that made discharging a firearm unlawful. I'm a Texas boy, and we do things a little different in our laws; we make something illegal, then define exceptions (for instance, it is illegal to carry a handgun, but exceptions are made for CHLs CCing, anyone on their own property or property they control, anyone concealing in a vehicle, lawfully unting, etc). Most other states usually simply prohibit the cases in which doing something IS illegal and ignore cases where it is lawful unless clarification is needed or the exception is one of very few, and/or is very specific or narrow.
Back to the point, I found nothing in the State statutes that say it is illegal to discharge a firearm in and of itself; for it to be a crime the discharge must constitute a breach of another crime such as disorderly conduct, possession in restricted places or during a parade or riot, assault, murder etc. On top of that, defense of self and of property (your dog may think he's people, but he counts as a possession at law) is generally justified as long as your person or property are in immediate danger of injury or loss, NOT after the fact (and in your case it's definitely the former).
However, discharging a firearm into a building, vehicle, watercraft or aircraft that is occupied and/or in operation is a felony in North Carolina. Rule 4 thus applies; always be sure of your target, and what is beyond it. It has to be willful (intentional) or wanton (reckless), so a ricochet is defensible as being neither. All bets are off if that bullet hits someone. That is presumed to be a reckless act regardless of how unintentional it was.
In addition, there is nothing in NC's pre-emption statute that prohibits local jurisdictions from regulating the discharge of a firearm. It can thus be a crime to discharge a firearm for any purpose within a city.
I think you would have been ok shoot if the fox was attacking you. I think you could have a problem if you shot in defense of your dog since NC views pets as property, and as you know, we can't use deadly force to defend property here.
I'm very sure that this is not the correct legal answer, however, if the Fox were to attack me or my dog, I wouldn't care what the laws is, I'd shoot it dead!!!
One thing we always keep in mind here in the Texas sticks, RABIES! Foxes, skunks, etc. are well known around here to be excellent rabies carriers! Aside from local statutes, kill the dang thing if it even attempts to get close and won't leave. Your animal and you are both in danger if either of you get bitten, scratched, etc. If the guvmint entity won't respond appropriately, then I believe you have the right to take care of it yourself. :smt023
I think if it came down to it and you had to shoot, you feared for your safety. You feared rabies and injury. When the fox was done attacking your dog, who says he wasn't going to turn on you?
Make calls to office of dog catcher and tell them the animal is acting funny. Record time and who you are talking to. Call every other day or so for about a week and call cops too. Record all times and people involed. After about ten to fourteen days kill the dang thing yourself if you have to. I wouldn't use my carry gun. Pack a .22 with rat shot in frist cylinder and HP's in the rest. Good luck.:smt033
Forget Animal Control call Wildlife Management. State wide you would be legal to shoot if after you or your dog can't say about local ordenances. Pepper spray the shrubbs where he like to hang out every other day and he will leave on his own.
Looks like you're not the only one with the problem.
Fox attacks dog, is shot by dog's owner
HOLLY SPRINGS - A fox attacked a dog Saturday at a home on Optimist Farm Road, five days after another fox that was rabid scratched a Sunset Lake Village homeowner in the same area of Holly Springs, town officials said in a news release.
Also Saturday, a diseased and possibly rabid raccoon was found in one of the traps animal control officers had set out in Sunset Lake Village where the first fox attack occurred, the news release stated.
The Optimist Farm Road incident occurred as a resident was walking out of his home with his Chihuahua. As soon as the dog reached the bottom of the steps, the fox attacked. The resident shot and killed the fox.
The fox has been sent to a state laboratory for rabies testing. Results are expected by Wednesday. The Chihuahua, which had not been vaccinated against rabies, has been quarantined. Police said the dog owner was not exposed.
The Sunset Lake Village homeowner who was scratched in the first fox attack is undergoing rabies prevention treatment.
Holly Springs police urge residents to call 557-9111 if they see wildlife behaving abnormally. Pet owners should make sure their animals are vaccinated.
At least it doesnt say he was being charged with discharging a firearm. If I am not mistaken in hendersonville it is illegal to discharge a firearm as like target practice, or people in a drunk fit shooting in the air. But that or self defense I am not sure. I will ask around to the cops I know and see what they tell me.
In Hendersonville on Howard Gap road a guy killed a bear because it was going after his dog a week or two ago.