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View Full Version : Can a Dog be used to "Challenge" Entry?


Southwest Chuck
04-05-2011, 2:23 PM
I have a very nice, large, shaded porch at the front of my house with a large front yard. I've always wanted to sit out there and clean my guns, but haven't because the front yard is not fenced, and therefore no gate to where I can "Challenge" people entering my property. In other words, my yard and porch are "Publicly Accessible" according to case law.

However, when I do sit out there, I usually bring my dog out and tie her up on a 15 foot lead so she can bask in the sun. She is very protective of our property and would under no circumstance let anyone approach the house, let alone the porch. I know this is a stretch, but since a fence is a barrier to public access, why isn't my dog just as an effective barrier (even more so) to public access, thus allowing me to not only clean my guns, but (cringe) LOC as well?

And no, I don't want to be a test case. I was just wondering if a fence was the ONLY type of barrier acceptable to deny public access.

voiceofreason
04-05-2011, 2:29 PM
does the front gate have to be locked or just closed?

Southwest Chuck
04-05-2011, 2:33 PM
does the front gate have to be locked or just closed?

I my be wrong, but my understanding is that it just has to be closed. I'm sure someone will chime in here if that is indeed not correct.

Untamed1972
04-05-2011, 2:56 PM
since you are cleaning then it's safe to assume your guns are UNLOADED. possesion of unloaded guns in a public or publicly accessible place is only an issue if you're within a 1000ft of a school zone. If your front porch is not within a 1000ft of a school zone then there is no legal issue about cleaning your guns there.

I would however question the wisdom of such an action. I dont know what kind of area/neighborhood you live in or how well you know your neighbors, or how likely it is that anyone would see you. But advertising that there are guns in the house to any passers-by is prolly not the smartest idea, and is likely that if a scared neighbor sees you, you might get a friendly or not so friendly visit from your local LEOs.

I think you're confusing the issue of exclusive access to your front yard with regards to either LOC or CCW on your private property or UOC if your front yard is in a school zone.

Southwest Chuck
04-05-2011, 3:17 PM
since you are cleaning then it's safe to assume your guns are UNLOADED. possesion of unloaded guns in a public or publicly accessible place is only an issue if you're within a 1000ft of a school zone. If your front porch is not within a 1000ft of a school zone then there is no legal issue about cleaning your guns there.

I would however question the wisdom of such an action. I dont know what kind of area/neighborhood you live in or how well you know your neighbors, or how likely it is that anyone would see you. But advertising that there are guns in the house to any passers-by is prolly not the smartest idea, and is likely that if a scared neighbor sees you, you might get a friendly or not so friendly visit from your local LEOs.

I think you're confusing the issue of exclusive access to your front yard with regards to either LOC or CCW on your private property or UOC if your front yard is in a school zone.

I understand what you are saying. Yes, it is within a school zone, but at the end of a cud-e-sac and neighbors know I have guns and are cool with it and i did mention LOC. However, I did not elicit opinions on the "wisdom" of doing it, although I know your heart is in the right place. Your post seems to lack a response to the question that was actually asked, i.e. I was just wondering if a fence was the ONLY type of barrier acceptable to deny public access.

I suppose only a Judge/Jury could definitively give an answer to my question, but I was just looking for some opinions on it.

Librarian
04-05-2011, 3:21 PM
And no, I don't want to be a test case. I was just wondering if a fence was the ONLY type of barrier acceptable to deny public access.

A fence or something similar is all we know about through case law. Anything else, if challenged, would become one of those test cases.

Alaric
04-05-2011, 3:27 PM
What you're up against is the legal concept of curtilage, which defines your 4th Amendment rights on private property. Curtilage is generally enforced using a fence or wall (with a locked gate) that not only limits access but also blocks views. That's not the only way to establish curtilage though. A tall, thick hedge could accomplish the same task. Or say, a stand of mature bamboo.

Since a dog does not prevent access, short of being a trained attack dog, nor does it block views, it would not effectively define the curtilage on your property. Now if you had a trained attack dog that did effectively limit access, you would need to have it behind a tall fence anyways, for obvious liability reasons. See how that works?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_fields_doctrine (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_fields_doctrine)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curtilage

Untamed1972
04-05-2011, 3:32 PM
I understand what you are saying. Yes, it is within a school zone, but at the end of a cud-e-sac and neighbors know I have guns and are cool with it and i did mention LOC. However, I did not elicit opinions on the "wisdom" of doing it, although I know your heart is in the right place. Your post seems to lack a response to the question that was actually asked, i.e.

I suppose only a Judge/Jury could definitively give an answer to my question, but I was just looking for some opinions on it.

you're right.....I did read over the LOC part. But you did not mention in your first post whether you were in a school zone or not which is a critical piece of information.

I dont think the dog will suffice for claiming exlcusive access to your front yard....because under that reasoning why wouldn't then just YOU with your LOADED gun essentially provide the same protection as the dog?

Bhobbs
04-05-2011, 3:42 PM
IANAL but in my opinion I would say no because the dog is not a permanent barrier. It's not even much of a barrier anyways.

hawk1
04-05-2011, 3:58 PM
What if the dog is sleeping?.. ie, no barrier then.