Animal Attacks

The data set also includes more stories of defense against animal attacks than many people would expect: Since 2007, 172 incidents have been documented—and not all of them in rural areas, either. From the Philadelphia Daily News of May 12, 2010: They all said he was a nice dog. But something inside Zeus snapped this morning. The American bulldog who loved dog biscuits and back scratches went berserk and attacked an 11-year-oldneighbor as the boy and his friend got ready for school in Port Richmond. Thirteen-year-old Brad Bucher heard his brother screaming and sprinted to help. The scene outside his home on Mercer Street near Tioga seemed straight out of a horror movie: Shane struggled frantically on the sidewalk, Zeus’ teeth sunk into his bloodied neck. The injuries were severe: “The dog ripped part of the boy’s right ear off, bit his neck and chewed his side open, injuring his intestines.” A neighbor heard the commotion, grabbed his .357 Magnum and shot the dog twice.

On October 17, 2009, Matthew Reppucci went out for a walk in North Andover, Massachusetts, when a neighbor’s pit bull attacked him. Reppucci pulled out a Colt .380 and shot the pit bull.

Of course, there are many wild animal defensive gun uses, too. On August 6, 2008, a Colorado man shot and killed a mountain lion after it got too close to him and his wife. They tried to scare it off, but when it approached and went into the “crouch position,” he decided the risk was too high, and he shot and killed it.

Two Montana bow hunters killed an aggressive female grizzly bear on October 8,2007. “One of them used bear pepper spray and halted a charge within nine feet, but the grizzly turned and charged a second time. That’s when the second hunter shot it twice with a .44 Magnum pistol.”

A hiker in Denali National Park in Alaska was forced to shoot an attacking grizzly bear, one of the first reported defensive gun uses in the national parks since President Obama signed a bill into law allowing concealed carry in national parks.

The bear charged at the hiker’s traveling companion until the hiker fired nine shots from a hand-gun, at which point the bear walked away. The animal was later found dead, and it is difficult to imagine any other means of resistance being effective when nine shots from the large-bore .45 only prompted the creature to walk away.

In light of the threat posed by natural predators, the decision to allow concealed carry in national parks such as Yellowstone, the Smoky Mountains, and the Grand Can-yon becomes even more important. The acres of wild lands set aside for natural beauty and growth attract millions of tourists a year, but, by definition, still harbor the risk of wildlife attacks faced by our ancestors centuries ago. Such wild lands also present attractive targets for human predators; potential victims are more likely to be isolated and unwary, communication such as cell phone signals may be difficult, and help could be hours away.