When Can You Use Force To Defend Your Property?

When Can You Use Force To Defend Your Property?

17 January 2016

January 18,2016 (c) Ellen Wright

Who doesn't have strong feelings about strangers messing with their 'stuff?' You work hard to get it. Police-lights-2.jpgYou work hard on it. You work darn hard in the case of horses to maintain it. There's a considerable investment in time, energy, emotions, money, and commitment there. 

Then some knothead shows up and ruins all that? No way you're going to take that!

After seeing some posts on social media lately that were, quite frankly, disturbing, I decided to write this article to attempt to educate people on some things that they might not want to know but should. 

  1. The use of force of any kind, but particularly DEADLY force, e.g. guns, is only to be used when there is credible and believable threat to either your life or the life of another HUMAN. The law does not recognize the lives and well-being on animals. (Whatever your opinion is on this, if your feelings are strong enough, please take them to your own representative and see if you can persuade them to change the law. Until then-this is the way it is.)


  1. You can use force (but not deadly force) to protect your belongings (here's where the old standby of the baseball bat or golf club work). There is a catch though-once they stop whatever it is they are doing and move to leave, you have to stop threatening them. Otherwise, you can be charged with assault and battery. So be careful with the temper and adrenaline. Don't go too far. 


I know-it is a very, very emotional topic and your immediate inclincation is to want to do anything and everything you can to protect your animals and stuff. Those of you who have weapons will want to reach for them. Know the LAW IN YOUR STATE. I cannot stress this enough. The widely touted 'Stand Your Ground" laws do not pertain to property-only to threat to HUMAN LIFE. Generally speaking, society values the health and safety of a human life above all else. 

One post I read on Facebook was a woman bragging about how she shot a man's cap off his head and then told the local sheriff's department about it. Of course, they were unable to arrest her without a complaintant, so they warned her and let her off. She thought she was big stuff. She wasn't. She took an awful chance on a human life. What if her aim had been off? What if his head had a weird shape? What if he had moved suddenly? She had waited there for some time for him to show up-that showed premeditation. She knew somebody was shooting at her horses. She could have put him on life support or killed him. Either one would have put her in jail for a number of years-and then where would her horses be? At an auction? 

Don't be rash. Let the professionals handle the problem. Call the sheriff. 

is an owner of property liable for use of deadly force?

CNN table of state laws showing use of deadly forcePolice-lights-2.jpg

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