I was jogging with my wife and our two small dogs in our county (outside city limits). Four medium size dogs and a big dog came charging down the street at us and with a stick (1.5 cm in diameter) I struck the dog on its nose as it got within three feet of us. The dogs owners, a man evidently visiting at a house of a couple whom we knew, and this couple, came out to the street from their house 50 yards away to get the dogs. The visiting man approached me, expressing that "they were normal people, there is no reason to hit a dog, YOU IDIOT." By the end of his sentence he was yelling and was within arms reach of me. I struck him with the stick in a backhand against his head, breaking the stick and causing him to bleed. The man was understandably outraged even more, but did not approach me further, but instead scolded me for hitting him as his hosting couple called me by name, calmed me down, and had me give them the stick remnant. It was although I had watched myself do this, and I was horrified as to what it meant. I remember saying, "please, I just returned from the war" and I identified myself (the couple knew me as well) and apologized. I asked him to please get medical attention and that I would pay for that. The people and dogs departed, and we turned around and left the way we came.I am greatly saddened and distressed at what I did tonight and what it may mean. I certainly did not go out on the run with the intent to "show myself" in any fashion. I know I was frightened by the dogs and the man's aggressive demeanor, though he did not overtly say he was going to hurt me. When he got so close, I felt as though I acted automatically. I have just finished serving 3 1/2 years in Turkey, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and am in my 30th and final year in the Army, having been recalled from Retirement 6 years ago. I attended two years of counseling for PRSD-type symptoms and anger management after that first, Surge tour of 2006-8. I understand even as I am entitled to a defense and the others said they were wrong in letting their dogs loose, I did a stupid thing, should never had had a stick in my hand to shoo away dogs, and should recompense the other man for his medical expenses. We have had difficulty walking/running our dogs in our county neighborhood, and the Sheriff Animal Control had to advise a different neighbor on a different street that their Rottweilers could be euthanized if they let them loose again (hey charged my wife and the dogs and were tag-teaming/attacking them). I don't want to put my family's fortunes in jeapardy again but wonder what trouble I am in with the county and the Army now.
State/Country relating to Question: Arizona
This event just happened tonight.
rcampioe, thank you for your brief orientation that is of great comfort to me. Even if the outcome is different than your description, this is a big help. This morning I realize the man is out there hurt somewhere on Easter Sunday, and that is not what I wished for him.
I am readying myself to retain a local lawyer if the next steps come as a charge. Or if the man takes me at my word and presents a relevant medical bill, to pay that. Meanwhile, I go back to work at Fort Bliss (El Paso) Tuesday morning and will immediately report what happened to my Colonels. Also, I am heading straight back to counseling, which actually is Army-provided and not yet VA provided until I retire soon. In any event, I am at the base Mon-Fri and sustained counseling is easier done there.
Military lawyer - 5 years to the present
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