The Staffordshire terrier that attacked a police horse at Crissy Field earlier this month has been ordered to be put to sleep, according to his owner.
David Gizzarelli said he is saddened by the news, but plans to do all he can to keep his dog, Charlie, alive.
Gizzarelli is in the process of obtaining an attorney and plans to file an injunction by the end of today. By filing an injunction, Gizzarelli hopes he can fight the decision in San Francisco Superior Court.
“I can’t believe it,” Gizzarelli said. “They only gave me three days.”
The ruling is based on an Aug. 6 incident that started when a U.S. Park Police officer on his horse was doing routine patrols near the West Bluff area of Crissy Field. When Charlie saw the horse and started barking, Gizzarelli tried to control his animal, but the dog would not comply, according to National Park Service spokesman Howard Levitt.
Charlie then took off chasing the horse, and “things got more out of control” when the horse started spinning in the field because it was spooked, Gizzarelli previously told The San Francisco Examiner.
The horse, Stoney, sustained severe injuries to his stomach and hind legs, including damage to his tendon, Levitt said.
Charlie also was injured in the attack; he received lacerations to his backside and head injuries after the horse kicked him. The Park Service said it is monitoring Stoney’s recovery and hopes he can eventually return to duty with some retraining.
Levitt said horses routinely do patrols near off-leash dog areas without incident. This time, everyone involved was not so lucky. The Park Service, though, is not considering changing the way officers do their patrols.
“It really comes down to the fact that, even in areas permitted off-leash, owners have an obligation to keep their dog under control,” Levitt said. “If they’re under control, then the chance of problems is much less.”
The incident was the first for Charlie, but that didn’t stop Officer John Denny, with Animal Care and Control’s vicious and dangerous dog unit, from taking possession of the dog and ordering him destroyed in a hearing last week.
Denny did not respond to calls for comment.
While one Staffordshire terrier with a violent past awaits its fate in San Francisco, another local pooch of the same breed might be proof that vicious dogs can indeed be rehabilitated — and then loved worldwide.
Jonny Justice, a San Francisco Staffordshire who was rescued from NFL star Michael Vick’s dog-
fighting ring, has been retrained to work with children, and he recently won the grand prize in an online contest hosted by GUND, which manufactures plush toy animals. He also was awarded Most Beautiful Dog.
The honor means Jonny will be featured in GUND’s 2013 plush toy lineup.
— Staff report