6 Americans Have Been Shot by Their Dogs

The always enjoyable Christopher Ingraham over at Washington Post's Wonk Blog noticed something pretty crazy: At least six Americans over the past five years have been shot by their dogs. While generally rare, these accidents are relatively frequent in our country compared to other countries, namely due to Americans' love of guns, hunting and dogs.


Ingraham's investigation was in response to a recent story of an Indiana woman who was shot in the leg by her Labrador retriever, Trigger (yes, that's the dog's real name), who stepped on her shotgun which was laying around loaded with the safety off. Like most dog-on-human gun violence, the incident took place during a hunting trip. The episode led Wonk Blog to ask, how often does this type of thing happen? More than one would expect. Here's the breakdown:

The reason for this frequency can likely be explained by the sheer ubiquity of guns in America; half the world's total by some estimates. As Ingraham notes:

In 2013, a Minnesota hunter was shot in the leg when his dog jumped into his boat and set off a shotgun. In 2011, a Utah hunter left his shotgun on a boat. His dog jumped on it, sending a blast of birdshot toward the man's buttocks. Two weeks later a Florida bulldog named Eli shot his owner with a rifle while in a car on the way to a hunting spot.

Florida appears to be home to several more of these accidents:

  • The dog who shot his owner in the leg with a .380 pistol while riding in his truck in 2013.

  • The dog who jumped onto a bed and knocked another .380 pistol on the ground in 2010, shooting his "extremely intoxicated" owner in the hand.

  • The three-month-old shepherd mix puppy who shot a man in the wrist with a revolver in 2004 while the man was trying to shoot the puppy and its siblings, "because he couldn't find them a home."

Now, it's important to note that these figures are a minimum, since they only include dog-induced gunshot wounds that manage to make the local news. Which means the number is probably considerably higher.

Obviously, it should be noted, dogs can't actually "shoot" humans, they can only respond to our own human carelessness and complete lack of gun control. The same toxic conditions, sadly, result in the accidental gun deaths of hundreds of children a year.

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