Its looking like dogs have more rights than people do! The first way to protect yourself is to very carefully look up the state's laws about dogs.
I used to raise angora rabbits when I lived on my own property. One day while I was in town, two dogs came and attacked my rabbits. They were gone by the time I got home. I had to shoot two of my favorite bucks because thier feet were ripped off. I never found out where the dogs came from. Then, months later, I looked out my window about saw two pitbulls under my rabbit cages! I screamed at them but they didn't leave. I got my gun, went out and screamed again. The big male started charging at me and I shot him. The other was young and silly, a mostly grown puppy. I let her go unharmed. The police came with the owner, they made him take his dog and leave quietly.
Acouple months later, I got a summons to court for shooting the dog and some kind of mischief. Nobody wanted to tell me my rights!
The case was dismissed, but the whole time, nobody wanted to tell me my rights if I as a livestock owner had the right to shoot. I did I found out on my own by looking at the state laws. Livestock owners have the right to shoot to protect. The system cared more about the dog than me!
So read your rights! It will save you alot of trouble!