North Dakota Man Arrested After Using Gun To Defend Himself Against Pit Bulls

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I’ve had several readers email me about a case in Valley City where a man is suing to get his firearms back after they were confiscated by police. The man had used them to shoot at two pit bulls that were attacking himself and his girlfriend at their home.

From the Valley City Times-Record on August 19th:

Preston and his girlfriend were in Preston’s yard enjoying a fire when the dogs wandered in. “Two pit bulls came by started barking a little bit. My dog started barking a little bit telling them to go away,” said Preston. The couple was able to shoo them away he said. “Then our neighbor comes over and said ‘those pit bulls just attacked our dog.'” said Preston. “Just in case, I went in and got our handguns.”

When the dogs returned, after Preston had been asleep for a while. He heard his girlfriend shouting and hitting a stick around; the dogs left again, he said. Thinking they were safe, Preston went to his boat to get a sleeping bag when he saw the dogs again, ears up and tails up, they were barking and growling. He jumped into the boat with the dogs right on his heels.

“I looked around for help, couldn’t see anybody to help,” Preston said, then he looked around for a phone. Finding none, he called out to his girlfriend, “Gun, gun, gun!” he said. She replied she couldn’t because she had the couple’s dogs.

Once again, the dogs retreated, Preston said, so he decided it would be a good time to get everyone (the couple and their dogs) and drive to the police station.

“I went back and I grabbed a gun from my girlfriend and all of a sudden I heard her holler, ‘get away! I turned around and the pit bull was pistol distance away. I chose to fire because they were showing teeth, growled, barked and everything else. That was a sign for me. It was either me and my girlfriend or the dogs, I chose to fire at that time,” said Preston.

According to Preston, when the police showed up he turned over both his gun and his girlfriend’s gun. He admitted to shooting the dog in self defense, but refused to allow officers to search his home. The officers then confiscated the guns and sought charges against Preston by way of the local state’s attorney.

Yesterday my good friend Jay Thomas at WDAY in Fargo interviewed Preston who, at the time, hadn’t been charged with any crimes but still hadn’t gotten his guns back (the incident with the dogs occurred in July). Preston has been pursuing a lawsuit against the city to get back his guns.

According to a WDAY television report, Valley City Police Chief Fred Thompson is arguing that the guns were seized for the purposes of investigation and won’t be returned until the investigation is concluded.

Last night, after the interview on the Jay Thomas Show, Preston was arrested for alleged disorderly conduct. He is currently out on bond.

Today at 2:10pm state Rep. Dwight Kiefert (R-Valley City) will be on the Jay Thomas Show today at 2:10pm to discuss the issue. Kiefert is not pleased with law enforcement’s handling of the situation.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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