Dog the Bounty Hunter is so into dogs, he tried to buy one off a fugitive ... while he was kicking in the guy's front door to haul his ass off to jail.
Dog's latest catch, James Hawkins tells TMZ ... DBH arrested him earlier this month at his Texas home, and claims Dog cuffed him and then immediately locked eyes with his great dane -- and whipped out $1,000 cash to take it away.
Hawkins was pissed, and told Dog to lay off Duke -- a 7-year-old, 200 lb. pooch. He says Duke doesn't need to be rescued from DBH or anyone else.
On top of that, Hawkins -- who was wanted for failing to pay bond on a previous arrest -- is considering suing Dog for trespassing ... and forcing him to sign release papers for the reality show. We put in a call to Dog, but no word back yet.
Meanwhile, Hawkins' fam didn't seem offended -- they all posed for pics with Beth Chapman while Dog was busting dear ole dad.