In January, a confrontation about off-leash dogs at Rancho Corral de Tierra on the Midcoast ended badly when a ranger used a Taser to subdue a resistant dog walker. Now, National Park officials are dealing with another incident involving man’s best friend unleashed at a Golden Gate National Recreation Area facility.

The latest incident involved an unleashed dog roaming Crissy Field in San Francisco. The dog attacked a horse-mounted park officer, injuring the horse and its rider. The incident occurred Monday and led authorities to impound the dog and arrest the owner for not restraining his animal.

It all started when a pit bull began barking at a U.S. Park police officer riding along the western edge of the property. The dog’s owner was nearby but reportedly made no effort to bring the animal under control. The dog lunged forward and attacked the horse, biting its underbelly and grabbing onto its back leg. The panicked horse fell over and knocked its rider to the ground.

The horse got up and ran back to its stable with the dog in pursuit. The horse was able to kick the pit bull and scare it away. The dog was later captured by another park officer and was later handed over to a vicious dog unit of the San Francisco Animal Care and Control department.

The dog owner, a 44-year-old San Francisco resident, was found responsible for the attack, and he was arrested for several crimes including assault on a police officer. The horse survived but later needed stitches on its bite wounds. The officer suffered some bruises from the fall, but no other injuries.

Unlike the Midcoast property, areas of Crissy Field allow off-leash dog walking so long as the owner can maintain control. GGNRA officials are currently working to finalize a dog management plan to codify its rules.

GGNRA spokesman Howard Levitt said the attack highlights the dangers and responsibility off-leash dogs can present to rangers or the public.

“National Park rangers have a difficult job enforcing the law,” he said, “The presence in this case of an off-leash dog out of control creates a dangerous situation for them.”

Enforcement of dog-walking rules has always been a hot-button topic on the Coastside, but the issue turned explosive after a GGNRA ranger shot a Montara dog walker with a Taser in January. Many observers, including U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier, criticized the response as an example of excessive force, but National Park officials said the man had lied about his identity and twice tried to walk away from the scene.

Department of the Interior officials completed a investigation of the Taser incident months ago, but GGNRA officials have held back on releasing it to the public due to “privacy and legal-related issues,” according to Levitt. He could not say when or if it would be made available.

“This case involves a violation of the law and there’s legal issues surrounding that, like the possibility of prosecution, and there’s the possibility of civil claims,” he said. “We’re continuing to work that through as soon as we can.”

(11) comments

John Charles Ullom
John Charles Ullom

The horse was being ridden by a cop. The park was not off leash.

Why do people who rudely cyber shout by using all upper case often misstate the facts?




I've been following this case on FB and have read your article and in no way is this account accurate. The dog was in an off-leash which the dog and their owner is allowed to be at and a horse comes through that has no business being there and for those of you who are stating the owner had no control...well the dog had never seen a horse before. This is normal animal behavior. If you had any knowledge whatsoever on how a dog and/or horse react to each other...none of you would comment as you did. I have to wonder if your comments are fixed as well as everything involving this case is. The author of this article would have been better served if perhaps she got some "expert" opinions on animal behaviour prior to go to print with her bias. Any city, state, town who would persecute and are calling for murder of a puppy without any offer of rehabilitation or fine or putting the owner and dog on probation.. and having him check in with his progress is a sad state indeed that we have stooped this low...not to mention the money this is costing the taxpayers. If you are going to have an off-lease dog park, bottom line is no horse should be riding through. I've no doubt there are negligent owners out there...however, in this incident...that is not the case


Peggy, I don't want to belabor the point, but after reading your very well articulated, cogent comments, I thought I might respond to you.

Your opening comment, "Isolated incidents do not a criminal population make" deserves some discussion. You are correct with your comment, generally speaking, but these "isolated incidents" aren't as isolated as you subtly indicate.

Example: Earlier this year I noticed something that bothered me at Redondo Beach. Since I live on RBR, I walk down there almost daily. One day, while I was walking north on the bluffs (from the parking lot) I noticed some dogs appearing on the bluffs from the beach. No person (yet), just dogs - and they kept coming. There were 17 dogs that made the bluff-top, then a person. The dogs were everywhere and the person had zero control. As I continued walking, another group of dogs appeared at the same spot; 19 of them in that bunch with another person bringing up the rear. Some of the dogs approached me.

I don't go to the beach or bluff-tops to make new friends, or even to socialize. Most times I'm there I am there as part of a workout regiment, the cool down part. I wear sweats, a hat, headphones and have the music up as loud as an Ipod will allow. I am in my own world and am comfortable with that. I don't bother others and appreciate it when they reciprocate.

Back to the dogs I mentioned. Turns out these two gals, occasionally accompanied by the brother of one (who brought more dogs) collected these K-9s from the peninsula and brought them here to run. In fact, they even advertised on their website and vehicles that they run the dogs they care for on the Beaches in HMB. They got paid to do so.

They had no business license. They had no leash(es). They not once picked up after the dogs. There was excrement from where the dogs were released in the parking lot all along the bluffs and on the beach. They did not even carry a bag - nothing. Further, when the dogs got in my face I asked them to control their dogs, at which point they looked at me like I had 3 heads. They were arrogant, impervious to the wants and rights of others, and were violating the law 5 days a week.

We got into it on more than one occasion, so I called the cops - everyday for as long as it took - about 2 weeks. One day, as I was walking back home, I overheard the 2 gals talking about the $1,000 they'd made that week. How nice.

I watched as those dogs chased other dogs, people, other animals and just generally had their way. Not anymore.

That, Peggy, is but one example of the arrogance some feel from those that can't follow the law (leash law). You tell me: how can any one person control that many dogs? Answer is they can't, but that didn't stop them and I doubt those gals are unique.

Put the word dog in a title or a sentence and all of a sudden everyone has an opinion...and as it generally turns out, the opinions expressed aren't about the topic incident, but rather like the ones we see below by the first two posters.

I have no problem with those that follow the law. It's the ones that feel entitled and have the attitude to match that piss me off.

The incident I've shared here is one of many; it is not an isolated incident. Careless dog owners are at that beach everyday. I have incidents about 1/2 the time I go down there, but I will not allow some arrogant jerks to stop me from exercising my rights.

Now, just like you, I pay taxes. Dogs don't. So I ask: do those that pay taxes have the right to ignore the rights and privileges of everyone else? when leash your dog signs are clearly posted on property that doesn't belong to an individual walking a dog, do they have the right to impose their will by disregarding the signs, the laws and the rights of others? is it too much to ask that people follow the law?


Isolated incidents do not a criminal population make.
At least half the population are dog owners. Nearly all dogs who have not and would not bite another human or animal. These people pay taxes too to support our open space, and they also have a right to use it. What the GGNRA consistently refuses to do is allow portions of that space to be used by the thousands of dog owners who are responsible, have trained and socialized dogs, and have a right to a bit of land where they can enjoy their animals. There's a lot of area they control, and there is certainly enough room for dog people to be able to use some of it. Dog haters would not have to go to the dog friendly areas, but the rest of us should have the rights we pay for, too. I'm surrounded by hills and fields, and there's not on square inch I can use legally any more. Just because of a very tiny proportion of miscreants and a lot of armchair complainers. The space is why I live here. Miscreants should be held accountable, just like others who are irresponsible, but since when does that make it OK to punish half the population in this totally unnecessary way? There is room in them thar hills for all of us.


"Unfortunately these days this type of dog owner is the norm rather than the exception." Unfortunately Ms Kristin, it sure seems that way.

I wonder if the legal costs, perhaps a few months in jail, payment for all the damages and a $10,000 - $20,000 fine might help his attitude? Might help his reading skills? Might help him learn to control his dog? Maybe after all is said and done, he'll introduce his dog to that brand new invention called a leash -- or maybe he just won't take his dog out in public.

We'll see, but if history and his current attitude are any guide, he'll be back doing it again.

I hope the horse and rider are OK. Maybe the Review can do a follow-up with their condition.

Suzy K
Suzy K

If you really want to see a callous dog owner watch the news clip of this guy's arrogant comments about his dog attacking the horse at Crissy Field. His take was "Well my dog had never seen a horse before." REALLY? And that makes it OK for your dog to go after a horse? This guy never even attempted to restrain or control his dog after it went after the horse and just watched as events unfolded. Small wonder he was arrested for assault among other charges. This could have been much worst as the poster below noted. Personally after having to give up walking my small dog on the Montara Mtn. because of arrogant, rude and inconsiderate dog walkers/owners there I can only hope the GGRNA ends up requiring leashed dogs everywhere they have jurisdiction and I would even understand banning them altogether. Unfortunately these days this type of dog owner is the norm rather than the exception.

John Charles Ullom
John Charles Ullom

On this day, a person walking his two lap dogs as he had for decades was stopped by a GGNRA ranger for them being off-leash then summarily detained without cause and tasered.

Really? Why the disinformation?

An off leash dog did what dogs do and bit an innocent animal, got kicked by a horse so hard it was injured, and injured an officer of the law.

Yet, the off leash dog fundamentalists use the indecent to advance their cause!! They use it to attack the employees of an organization that are just doing their jobs.

I am just flabbergasted by people who don't put people first. What if the horse had been a kid who was as we post, having her scared face evaluated by a plastic surgeon? What if the horse had really panicked and hurt other children at the park? What if the horse had run out into the street and caused an accident?

Why would anybody who wants to score points against the GGNRA use this near tragic indecent to advance their cause? Does anybody think that the off leash dog walker who refused lawful orders from a peace officer, really wants to be associated with the fool who let his dog run off leash in an urban park?

Do they allow horses in the GGNRA? How do equestrians feel about all this? I've been attacked by off leash dog when riding off road. It didn't turn out well for the dog and I felt bad about it because the owner of the dog is the one who I wanted to smack upside the head.

I have a dog and I love that beast. But, I treat him like a dog. Once I didn't and let him run off leash on a beach that I thought nobody was on. I was wrong. Dog nipped a guy that was incredibly cool about it. I was lucky. Dog was lucky. I PayPaled the guy a hundred bucks to pay for his ripped pants and his ruined day off. He felt bad about taking it. Go figure.

I learned. Dogs are dogs. Mine is super cool when everybody is super cool. Many people are not super cool with dogs and many have good reasons not to be. Dog stays on leash now. Guess what? Dog still likes me and grabs the leash when he wants a walk. Go figure.


Is it really the reporter here that the 2 posters below have a problem with? or is it what is being reported that caused such incredibly arrogant comments?

I see no issue with the reporting of this, yet another vicious dog attack, on GGNRA ground. Rather than concern about the reporter's reporting, I am concerned about the horse, the rider (in this case a Ranger) and the absolute callous and irresponsible behavior of yet another dog owner. I hope the horse and rider are OK.

This is another piece demonstrating how an irresponsible pet owner who shows no respect for the rules or the law or the rights of others imposed his will at the expense of others. This time it was a horse and rider, who happens to be a Ranger. Next time it may be a two year old running from Mom.

What is so hard to understand? The self-importance of the few at the expense of the laws meant for the many is just mind bending. The lack of concern of the incident, with the attempted snarky spin avoids the real issues, which seems typical of those that feel some sense of entitlements for themselves and their K-9's.

Would either of you feel the same way and provide the same shallow and misleading comments had that been your butt in the saddle riding your horse in a protected, public park instead of the Ranger?


Since the journalist has nothing to say about the promised 280 page GGNRA follow-up report on the tasering incident, allow me:

How could this newspaper, after publishing the above article, fail to remind the public of the long-awaited, overdue explanation from the GGNRA? For her part, Congresswoman Speier’s office is unable to return repeated phone calls inquiring just how she could be satisfied by the absence of such a report, given her strong comments and supposed interest at the time of the incident.

Sadly, the GGNRA now lords over the largest urban national park in the world, without the most basic assets to protect the San Francisco Peninsula from fire and security threats held in the San Mateo County properties acquired the last twenty years:


It is very unfortunate when a reporter is either not informed or is not being balanced as ethics of journalism requires. But when a reporter writes to inflame an already contentious issue that is another story.

What's more, is that this same reporter reported the same incident in a very different light in a previous article he actually first reported the incident on.

Furthermore, the reporter takes comment from only one party of the issue. Balanced reporting dictates that there be corroboration, no less, commentary from opposing sides of an issue, in this case the current flawed GGNRA dog management proposal.

So, a reader has to ask, where are the journalistic ethics here? Also, did the GGNRA have a hand in it as they have a world class PR department?

The reference to the taser incident is being inferred in a negative light as to the part of the dog walker which is also incorrect. The negative light MUST be placed on the GGNRA ranger who pulled the trigger for no apparent reason. Yes, no apparent reason.

The term "dog walker" is specific to a professional person that walks dogs for others for compensation. A person walking their dog is just that, a person walking their dog, not a "dog walker."

This was EXACTLY the case in the taser incident. It was a "day of education" by the GGNRA at Rancho Corral de Tierra after they had just acquired the property from the regional land trust in San Mateo County. As is in every other corner of the GGNRA, rangers patrol and give out (negative) citations for off-leashers in on-leash areas. It's like getting a traffic ticket. Nothing more.

On this day, a person walking his two lap dogs as he had for decades was stopped by a GGNRA ranger for them being off-leash then summarily detained without cause and tasered.

Day of education?!
Is this what all dog guardians are to expect from the GGNRA in the future?
Was this a law enforcement strategy to create fear and intimidation to taxpayers and visitors to their parks?
Should the GGNRA and NPS under the federal Dept. of the Interior be acting in this way? It is above the law when taking these tactics?

So, referencing the taser incident with the horse/dog incident is not only incorrect and contradicting but highly inflammatory by the reading public who want to trust the reporters and, thus, the newspaper it reads.

Furthermore, and, ultimately, it may also fall upon the editor of this newspaper that rewrote the article such that it would tilt or lean in the direction and favor of the National Parks Service and GGNRA.

Shame on you. [sad]

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