CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Monday, October 7, 2013

"Instruments of Danger in Weapons Case Were Dogs, Authorities Say"

From the New York Times:

The case, from August 2012, is a rare example of a New Yorker’s being arrested on a weapons possession charge, a misdemeanor, for a dog.

Courts around the country have long grappled with the question of canine weaponization. Over the years, judges have mostly arrived at the same conclusion: if you use Fido as a weapon, he becomes one.

. . .

Prosecutors have found that courts will allow broad latitude for classifying ordinary objects as dangerous instruments, depending on the context in which they are used. Over the years in New York, that has included a belt, a wadded-up paper towel used as a gag, a baseball bat, a stickball bat and a spatula. And, in some cases, a dog.

While it is not uncommon now to see convictions in dog attacks for assault with a deadly weapon, the question of whether a person can also be charged with weapons possession in such instances has been more muddled.

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