If a driver purposely runs over a dog, is that murder?


Honestly, I don't know how I stumbled onto your web site,  but I am glad that I did.  I read through majority of the "Question Answered 2010" and thought your advice was appropriate to the questions. 

So here is my question:  I was sharing a conversation with my teen-aged daughter.  I told her how hurtful images runs through my mind from time to time.  I was out for a morning walk when I first see three small dogs attempting to cross to the other side of the street.  With great speed a motorist sped up and runs over one of the three dogs.  I stopped walking. I heard the car speed up, I heard the cars tires run over the dog and crush its bones. The distressed cry the dog made as he was run over still gives me the shakes. I immediately put my hands to my mouth in shock. The car speeds off. I walk over to the greatly injured animal to hear his last soft yipe then it died. The other two dogs were looking back at the injured dog as to say get up come on we are waiting. I returned home with the disturbing sounds and image in my mind. 

As my daughter listened to the story she asked me "wouldn't God consider that murder and punish that individual that ran over that poor animal?" 


The Hebrew word for murder is ratsach. It is never used in connection with the taking of the life of an animal; it is only used in connection with the death of a human whether purposeful or accidental. The only time ratsach is used in an approved way is in Numbers 35:30 where it states the murderer (ratsach) is to be put to death (ratsach). In this usage, it emphasizes that the murderer would receive back what was due.

The killing of the dog was an example of cruelty to an animal. "A righteous man regards the life of his animal, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel" (Proverbs 12:10). It is still wrong, but for a different reason than murder.

Thank you for that information. I will let me daughter know that the man's action was an unnecessary act of cruelty to an animal.