9 Stories That Prove You Should Never Leave A Gun Where Dogs Can Reach

Chocolate Lab beside a Cooey12 gauge single shot shotgun, a camouflage jacket and boots, Duncan, British Columbia, Canada.

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No matter where you stand when it comes to the gun control debate, we can all agree that there should never be a situation where a dog could accidentally discharge a firearm. Most responsible gun owners know this and would never leave a loaded weapon with the safety off in an area where their beloved dogs might hurt themselves or someone around them. However, even responsible gun owners can have a lapse in judgment or shift their attention away for a moment, as was the case in some of the stories here. If you have a gun in your home or if you like to bring your dog along with you when you hunt, take these accidents as a reminder that you absolutely cannot afford to be distracted when your firearm is ready for use, especially when your dog is around. Here are nine stories that prove you should never leave a loaded gun with the safety off where a dog can reach.

1. The Pizza Guy

A pizza delivery guy in Ohio named Ryan Brill was dropping an order off at the residence of a man named Anthony Wulf. When Wulf heard the knock at the door, he went to set his gun on a table. That’s when Wulf’s dog ran to the door and somehow knocked the gun to the floor. The weapon fired and hit Brill in the leg. Luckily, the injury was not life threatening, though Brill went to the hospital and had to use crutches for three weeks. Why have a gun loaded with the safety off to answer the door for a pizza, especially when you know an excited dog will be running around? Why not put the gun up higher where there’s no risk of your dog knocking it over? This accident could have been prevented with even an ounce of common sense.

2. Propped Up In The Wrong Place

A pheasant shoot. An alert black trained gundog, a retriever beside a man seated with a gun on his knees.

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Even gun owners with training and years of experience can sometimes forget the importance of basic gun safety, and the results can be deadly. This was the case in Russia where Sergei Terekhov, a 64-year-old experienced hunter who had a firearm license and was completely sober made a fatal mistake. He propped his loaded shotgun up against his knee while he was sitting near his truck. One of his hunting dogs got excited, jumped out of the truck, and accidentally pulled the trigger of the gun, which sent a shot into Terekhov’s abdomen. It was a fatal injury. You should never point the barrel of a loaded gun at yourself or someone else, but you especially shouldn’t do it when an excited dog is nearby.

3. Trigger Pulls The Trigger

A hunter in Indiana named Allie Carter was out hunting with her dog, coincidentally named Trigger. She made the mistake of laying her 12-gauge shotgun on the ground while it was loaded and the safety was off. Trigger the chocolate Labrador chose that moment to step on the trigger, which sent a blast into Carter’s foot. Luckily, Carter only suffered minor foot injuries. Of course, the whole accident could have easily been prevented if she hadn’t left her loaded weapon where her dog could step on it.

4. Shotgun On The Ground

Gun dog near to shot-gun and trophies, horizontal, outdoors

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Almost the exact same thing happened to a hunter in Iowa named William Rancourt. He was out hunting with a few friends when one of the hunters left his loaded shotgun on the ground. One of the hunting dogs stepped on the gun, unloading a blast of bird-shot pellets into Rancourt’s back. Fortunately, there was some distance between the hunter and the weapon, so the shot didn’t do as much damage as it could have if he were closer. Rancourt survived the incident and was treated for his injuries at the hospital. Again, never leave a loaded weapon where a dog, or anyone for that matter, might step on it and accidentally fire it.

5. Shot In The Butt

A man in New Zealand was out hunting with friends when he got into the back seat of a vehicle next to a .22 bolt-action rifle. Everyone in the group assumed that the rifle was not loaded, but when the man’s dog jumped in the car, the pup accidentally hit the trigger and fired the gun. The bullet went through the seat and hit the man in the left buttock. He had to be airlifted by helicopter to a hospital and survived, though he was in extreme pain. Sometimes in a group situation it can be hard to keep track of who has unloaded their gun, and people can get confused. It is important to be responsible for your own firearm and always double or even triple check to make sure that the weapon cannot be accidentally fired and hurt someone.

6. Shot In The Boat

This Black Labrador Retriever is just in pure dog heaven on the bow of the Jon Boat anticipating jumping in the water to retrieve a duck. Ducks aren't in season now but she doesn't know that.

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Cars and boats can be especially dangerous when it comes to loaded guns and dogs because there isn’t much room to move around without stepping on or bumping into things. This was the case when a young hunter in Minnesota near Federal Dam had his loaded shotgun in his boat. His dog jumped aboard and accidentally engaged the trigger. The man was shot in his lower right leg and was later taken to the hospital and treated for non-life-threatening injuries. There was no reason for his shotgun to be loaded with no safety on when he was not ready to fire, especially on a boat with a dog.

7. Shot In The Butt In The Boat

A man in Utah was hunting with his dog and a friend at the Great Salt Lake. As he was getting out of his boat, he set his 12-gauge shotgun on the bow. As the man was setting up some decoys in the water, his dog jumped up onto the bow and stepped on the gun, causing it to fire birdshot into the man’s butt. Because the man was about ten feet away from the weapon and was wearing waders, his injuries were not as serious as they could have been, but doctors still had to remove 27 pellets from his posterior. The man didn’t need his gun loaded and at the ready while he was setting up decoys. He could have easily loaded it and switched off the safety when he was ready to hunt instead of leaving it around where it could hurt somebody.

8. Only One Hand To Pet With

Male hunter with rifle and hunting dog stalking for a prey in the field.

(Picture Credit: Getty Images)

Sometimes even your hands aren’t a safe place for a loaded gun when dogs are around. A man in France named Rene was hunting with his three dogs when two of them ran off after a deer. The third dog was young and new to hunting, and instead of running after the deer, he stayed behind. At some point, the pup jumped up on his owner and pulled the trigger of the shotgun. The blast blew off part of the man’s hand, and it had to be amputated at the hospital later on. The man didn’t hold the dog responsible, as he admitted that he should have had the safety on in the first place. Now he’ll have to manage to pet three dogs with only one hand. Always have the safety on until you are ready to fire because even when you are holding a gun, it may still be within reach of your dog, and accidents happen.

9. Riding Shotgun

A man in Florida named Billy E. Brown was driving to a hunting spot with a friend. His Bulldog, Eli, was in the front seat of the truck between the two men along with the gun. At some point, Eli got excited and bumped the gun, which knocked it over and caused it to fire. Brown was shot right above the knee and went to the hospital in critical condition. So many things could have been done to prevent this. The gun shouldn’t have been loaded. The safety should have been on. The firearm could have been stored in the back, away from any chance of getting knocked over. There is no reason a dog should be sitting next to a loaded gun that could go off after being bumped.

Have you ever heard of a dog accidentally shooting someone? How do you make sure your dog never accidentally fires a gun? Let us know in the comments below!

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