In journalism, there's what you call your dog-bites-man situation. Which is anything too common and expected to be a good story (unless the dog is one of those Resident Evil hellhounds, or the man is Cesar Millan). An example of a dog-bites-man science story is yet another confirmation of Einstein and relativity.

Then there's your more compelling man-bites-dog scenario. Which is something out of the ordinary (unless the man is competitive eater Joey “Jaws” Chestnut, and the dog is a Nathan's Famous). An example of a man-bites-dog science story was the 2011 claim of neutrinos that move faster than light. Turned out they do not. Clocks got blamed, which is appropriate because part of the experiment was in Switzerland and the whole thing was cuckoo.

Every so often, however, we are treated to a dog-shoots-man story. Which is when a dog shoots a man.

An exemplary dog-shoots-man incident occurred on November 27, 2011, when a Utah duck hunter left his 12-gauge shotgun unattended in his boat. The victim got out of the boat to adjust the decoys, at which time his dog allegedly stepped on the gun, causing it to discharge a literal butt-load of pellets—to add injury to insult, 27 pellets wound up in the man's buttocks.

Initial reports noted that neither the dog nor any ducks were injured. If the gun's safety was on, the dog would have had to disengage it, which would elevate this shooting from a crime of negligence to a crime of intent, if anybody was going to charge the man's-former-best-friend.

No one has ever accused a cat of being man's best friend, especially if that man caught a bullet meant for a feral feline. Such a cat-man-duo was the subject of a 2012 news article out of the otherwise bucolic town of Yacolt, Wash. The perpetrator-cum-victim intended to shoot a cat that had been hanging around his house, The Columbian newspaper reported. The man “was attempting to load a .22-caliber, semiautomatic rifle when it discharged into his foot.” Given that he was going to need nine accurate shots to fully and finally dispatch the cat, perhaps he should consider himself lucky he got shot only once. Let's hope he could other-foot the hospital bill.

Such cat and dog stories may be rare, but deer on the verge of becoming venison seem to even the score with hunters regularly, as evidenced by the results of an Internet search for “deer shoots hunter.” A dead animal's reflexive kick that finds a trigger seems to be a common method of postmortem revenge, which for the wounded party can only be described as cold comfort.

Although we inkjet-stained wretches gravitate toward animal-shoots-human stories, I learned early on to be wary. I got my lesson back in 1992, when I heard a radio report about a Missouri man who was allegedly shot by a wild turkey. The hunter was said to have bagged the bird, after which he tossed both it and his gun into the trunk of his car. The hunter's son later opened up the trunk, and the turkey, merely stunned, thrashed around, clawed the trigger and shot the victim—well, the second victim—in the dark meat, I mean, thigh.

Embarking on my own coverage of this important story, I called the Missouri Department of Conservation. At which point an agent told me that the turkey-did-it version “wasn't brought up until quite a bit after we took statements from the people involved. It almost boils down to a joke.” He also strongly intimated that investigators suspected that the hunter's son was at fault. Which, if true, would have made for a stressful dinner at that house, as both turkey and wound got dressed.

Fortunately, the turkey and duck hunters healed, and the dog may heel. (The cat was fine and will never heel.) Which means their license fees can continue to support game management efforts and habitat maintenance. I just recommend hunting with a trusted human—if he sees your dog go for your gun, he can yell, “Duck!”