Skog v. King

In Skog v. King, 214 Wis. 591, 254 N.W. 354 (1934), a farmer was awakened at night to the sound of dogs fighting in his yard. Upon hearing the ruckus, the farmer grabbed his shotgun, went outside and discovered the neighbor's dog attacking his dog. The farmer attempted to shoot the neighbor's dog but instead shot and killed both dogs. The farmer testified that prior to the shooting incident, his sheep had been worried by dogs and seven of them had been killed. The supreme court first determined that it would not apply Wis. Stat. 174.01 (1931) because a dog was not technically a "domestic animal" under the statute. The court, nonetheless, ruled that the farmer had a common law right to protect his property, including his dog. See Skog, 214 Wis. at 593. Quoting from Coleman v. Minor, 17 Ala. App. 102, 82 So. 42, 42-43 (Ala. Ct. App. 1919), the court observed: "One may protect his animate property from the vicious attacks of other animals and, if there exists an impending necessity therefor, may kill the attacking animal to save his own from death or serious harm." Skog, 214 Wis. at 593-94.