I’ve always been a fan of animal stories, especially the fun, weird and wacky ones. When I heard about an article in Trove’s digitised newspapers in which a man was shot by a dog, my curiosity was piqued and of course I immediately went on a search for more shootings by animals.
I was not disappointed.
There are quite a few stories of men being shot by dogs. As reported on the front page of the Narromine News and Trangie Advocate on 3 October 1950 a little dog jumped into the car and is thought to have accidentally trod on the trigger of a rifle that was leaning up by the seat. Thankfully, due to some quick work by the local hospital and some blood donors, the patient was declared to be “making progress”. A later article reported his improved condition.
In other stories however, there is not a happy ending, with the shooting resulting in death. "Dog Shot Man Dead" in The Argus on 25 May 1954 tells of a retriever was travelling in the back of a ute when he pawed the trigger of a shotgun. The shot pierced the back of the ute’s cabin upholstery and struck a man in the back. The man later died in hospital.
And it’s not only dogs that are out on the shooting rampage! There are many other reports of men being shot by animals.
A Northern Territory man shared his story of being shot by a kangaroo. He was quoted as saying after explaining he had shot many kangaroos and wallabies during his time in the bush, “This is the first time that one has ever shot me.”
Of course cats wouldn’t stoop to actually pawing a trigger themselves. This Daily News story shows that the mere sight of a cat, albeit a cat with a rabbit trap attached to itself racing out of a rabbit burrow, caused this man to accidentally shoot himself.
This Tasmanian man was shot by a monkey during a circus act. The monkey, whose name was Tarzan, was supposed to be shooting at a balloon but fired wide and shot the young man in the back.
Followers of the Trove Twitter account may recognise the story "Man Shot By Ferret" from 16 August 1934 in the Border Watch. A young man was out shooting rabbits when, "...he dropped his gun on a bank, and put down the ferret. He walked away a few yards and then looked back. 'I saw the ferret slip over to the gun,' he said, 'and I watched him claw at the trigger. The gun exploded and the full charge of shot struck me in the face.'" This remains a favourite story of mine, as I used to have a pet ferret.
Accidents happen. Or do they? For a list of these articles (and more!), check out this Animal shootings list in Trove.
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