Criminal lawyers are familiar with the principles governing the use of force in self defence but it would be interesting to see how the courts dealt with the situation described recently in the media where a dog owner stabbed to death a pit bull which had bitten his pug. It seems no charges will be laid in this case but one cannot help but wonder how the law would be applied either in the case of criminal charges for cruelty to an animal or in the event the owner of the deceased canine sued for damages, claiming wrongful death of the animal. At first glance it would seem logical to apply the ordinary rules of self defence by assessing the owner’s perception of the risk of harm to his animal as if the threat was to himself in order to determine the extent of force justified in the circumstances.