Drawing on a menacing animal and making a spilt-second decision to shoot are always tough decisions. Those decisions, in the real world, can be very subjective. Just as in using lethal force against a person; you will ALWAYS get second guessed by either the legal system, the media, or the animal rights crowd.
I've had to draw on both dogs and humans. Fortunately, I never had to squeeze the trigger. I pray that I'll never have to squeeze a trigger on someone or animal that might be someone's pet. So I have an idea of how you feel.
Fortunately, you also have the law on your side. Read this out of the ORC:
955.28 Dog may be killed for certain acts - owner liable for damages.
(A) Subject to divisions (A)(2) and (3) of section 955.261 of the Revised Code, a dog that is chasing or approaching in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack, that attempts to bite or otherwise endanger, or that kills or injures a person or a dog that chases, threatens, harasses, injures, or kills livestock, poultry, other domestic animal, or other animal, that is the property of another person, except a cat or another dog, can be killed at the time of that chasing, threatening, harassment, approaching, attempt, killing, or injury. If, in attempting to kill such a dog, a person wounds it, the person is not liable to prosecution under the penal laws that punish cruelty to animals. Nothing in this section precludes a law enforcement officer from killing a dog that attacks a police dog as defined in section 2921.321 of the Revised Code.
(B) The owner, keeper, or harborer of a dog is liable in damages for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that is caused by the dog, unless the injury, death, or loss was caused to the person or property of an individual who, at the time, was committing or attempting to commit criminal trespass or another criminal offense other than a minor misdemeanor on the property of the owner, keeper, or harborer, or was committing or attempting to commit a criminal offense other than a minor misdemeanor against any person, or was teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog on the owner's, keeper's, or harborer's property. Additionally, the owner, keeper, or harborer of a dog is liable in damages for any injury, death, or loss to person or property that is caused by the dog if the injury, death, or loss was caused to the person or property of an individual who, at the time of the injury, death, or loss, was on the property of the owner, keeper, or harborer solely for the purpose of engaging in door-to-door sales or other solicitations regardless of whether the individual was in compliance with any requirement to obtain a permit or license to engage in door-to-door sales or other solicitations established by the political subdivision in which the property of the owner, keeper, or harborer is located, provided that the person was not committing a criminal offense other than a minor misdemeanor or was not teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog.
Effective Date: 07-10-1987; 2008 HB71 09-30-2008
I am not an attorney. Therefore my advice is free. If I were an attorney, I would have to charge you for my advice. With that said, my advice is not legal advice but merely an observation and interpretation of an educated laymen who makes the study of law a hobby. I've had too many ex-wives...
With that said, you would have been justified with shooting the dog. However, you would have to suffer any immediate and long term fallout. As someone pointed out after shooting said menacing canine, you would then have to deal with a possibly aggressive and antagonistic owner of the dead animal. If and when that happens, you really need to make sure every split-second decision you make can stand up to the scrutiny of a Jury. Keep in mind the people trying you may have never been in a fist fight, may have never been attacked by a person or an animal. So they have absolutely no concept of the emotions, fear and stress a person goes through when being attacked.
In a conversation with a friend about using deadly force, I was giving him the benefit of some of my experiences. So, I can comfortably pass on this advice to anyone. About 99% of us have thought about when and when not to pull a trigger on someone or something. We've gone through the "what ifs" in our minds several if not numerous times. But how many of us have considered what we should do and what we should say AFTER a shooting?
So I told my friend; some attorneys charge upwards of $300 per hour. Make an appointment with a criminal defense attorney and ask them to tell you what you should do AFTER a shooting. Some people will balk; "Three hundred dollars! That's outrageous! I'll save my money and take my chances."
The $300 you spend for an hour getting educated by a good criminal defense attorney could save you from a long time in prison or from getting stuck with a needle. Think about how much grief you'll save yourself by acting properly to protect yourself AFTER a shooting by the knowledge you get by spending a few hundred dollars to get an education now rather than later.
That's my advice and it's free.
"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." - Albert Einstein