Last year in Union County, multiple complaints were made about pet dogs
which were shot or went missing during deer season, the Indiana Department
of Natural Resources said.
Indiana Conservation Officers are reminding residents that shooting or
killing a dog is a serious crime. Indiana Code 35-46-3-12 specifies that
maiming or killing a dog is a Class D felony punishable by a term of six
months to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Even if a dog wanders onto someone’s private property while they are
hunting, it is still a crime to shoot the dog.
Some frequently asked questions:
* What if I thought it was a coyote? Game identification is a very
important part of hunting. No ethical hunter will take a shot at something
he hasn’t identified with certainty. If you are having trouble figuring out
the difference between a coyote and a domesticated dog, you should take a
break and study your wildlife ID some more.
* Does it matter if it gets shot with an arrow? Under the law there
is no distinction between shooting a dog with a firearm or archery
* Isn’t there some kind of exemption to the law? I thought if it came on
my land I could shoot it? The exemptions in the law relate to protecting
people from injury and protecting property from substantial damage, not
because a dog may interfere with a hunt.
* I spend a lot of time getting ready for the big hunt. Aren’t dog owners
required to keep their dogs on a leash? If they violate that law, don’t I
have a right to shoot the dog? Someone’s violating one law does not
automatically give you the right to violate another law. In addition,
according to IC 15-20-1-4, a nonaggressive dog that wanders onto
agricultural or forested land does not commit any violation.
“Dog owners are encouraged to be courteous this time of year and make sure
they don’t allow their pets to roam and disrupt hunters,” the DNR said.
“Shooting a dog is not only illegal, but it greatly tarnishes the image and
respect of hunters everywhere. Because of this, in Union County some prime
hunting ground has already been closed to current and future hunters. All
hunters are reminded that not only is it important to follow the law, but
continue to promote the image of the ethical hunter. Our heritage and
livelihood depend on it.”