Jasmine Marshall (left) and Kelvin Johnson booking photos. (Courtesy SFPD)

Couple accused of siccing dogs on wild animals in Golden Gate Park

Their names are Max and Sasha.

The pair of dogs — a pitbull mix and a Rhodesian ridgeback mix — allegedly killed raccoons, coyotes, bunnies, domesticated rats and even an egret. Much of this violence was documented and posted on social media.

These wild animals were all killed as part of the dogs’ training by their masters, a San Francisco couple who now face six felony animal abuse counts of killing, maiming, or abusing animals, according to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.

Husband and wife Kelvin Johnson, 29, and Jasmine Marshall, 26 — who were both arrested earlier this week — were caught allegedly after their pets made a kill in Golden Gate Park, according to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the case, but who was not authorized to speak on the record.

Kelvin denied the charges Tuesday and pleaded not guilty, claiming his dogs were attacked by the wild animals.

According to police, last Tuesday a passerby notified police after seeing the couple allegedly sic their dogs on a racoon and a coyote in Golden Gate Park on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

When police and animal control arrived, they found a van with the dogs inside and the corpse of a raccoon nearby. Two dogs were confiscated by Animal Care and Control, and the couple was detained but released. Both dogs had cuts and scratches on their faces. A third dog has yet to be located.

But the next day, when the pair tried to retrieve their property at San Francisco’s Richmond Station, they were arrested since documentation of their actions was posted online.

The couple was allegedly training their pets to fight by having them attack and kill wild animals, according to the law enforcement source. They then posted images of the dead animals on social media.

One social media account identified by police notes that “I enjoy letting my dogs be dogs of [sic] you don’t like it your fault welcome to the life of Sasha and Max and sometime [sic] smoke.”

Police said in one post they set loose a rabbit in a field for their dogs to chase and kill. In another post they show their dogs and a freshly killed egret. They also posted images of their dogs killing domesticated rats, according to police.

Police also claimed that Johnson was involved in attacking a man with his dog in October 2015 in Bayview-Hunters Point.

Johnson, who remains in custody with an $80,000 bail, appeared in San Francisco Superior Court on Tuesday afternoon where he pleaded not guilty and his lawyer said his dogs were being attacked by six raccoons and a coyote.

“These dogs were attacked by raccoons in Golden Gate Park and the coyotes,” said Johnson’s court-appointed attorney Everett Hewlett.

But prosecutors countered that statement and classified the case as “highly disturbing,” citing social media posts of the dogs attacking all sorts of animals.

“This is depraved, disturbed behavior,” said Assistant District Attorney Catherine McBride.

Johnson is set to appear in court again alongside Marshall, who was released on her own recognisance earlier this week, for her arraignment Thursday.

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