Target: San Francisco Animal Care and Control
Goal: Prevent death of terrier accused of attacking horse
Recently, a U.S. Park Police officer was on horseback patrol at Crissy Field when David Gizzarelli was walking his 18-month-old Staffordshire Terrier (Charlie) without a leash. The dog then initiated an attack on the police horse. The horse was chased by Charlie and received injuries to the stomach and hind legs, and the officer thrown to the ground. The horse subsequently kicked Charlie, inflicting injuries on him as well. According to Golden Gate National Recreation Area spokesperson Howard Levitt, owner David Gizzarelli did not control his dog.
Animal Care and Control took possession of the dog, and Gizzarelli was arrested. The horse, Stoney, is currently being treated and is expected to recover. Charlie, however, has been sentenced to death by Animal Care and Control. This decision is unreasonable. Charlie has had no prior incidents of violence, nor was there an opportunity for his owner to regain control of him. There is no question as to the severity of the attack, and the wrongdoings inflicted on the horse and its officer are not being downplayed. Nonetheless, to so easily declare the destruction of the dog is not correct.
San Francisco Animal Care and Control must re-evaluate its decision to put down Charlie. Other reasonable possibilities present themselves, whether it be retraining or continued custody of the dog by appropriate authorities or institutions. Punishment can certainly be applied, but putting an animal to death is not the answer. Moreover, if there is to be punishment, it is much more appropriately left to the charges already placed on the dog’s owner on the grounds of failure to maintain control of a dog and assault on a police officer.
Dear San Francisco Animal Care and Control,
Recently, an incident occurred at Crissy Field in which a police horse and fellow officer were attacked by Charlie, an unleashed 18-month-old Staffordshire Terrier. Both the horse and the dog received injuries before Animal Care and Control arrived on the scene and took Charlie into custody. The owner, David Gizzarelli, was placed under arrest and your services declared that the dog be put to death.
This decision is unreasonable and unfair. Although there is no denying the severity of the attack, the responsibility falls more appropriately on the owner and the punishment should be given as such. You have denied the possibility of the dog’s behavior and life being set down a better path, whether it be through retraining or withholding custody from the owner. David Gizzarelli has already been charged with assault on an officer. If some form of malignant intent was indeed involved in the attack on the officer and horse, as suggested by the charges, it is that of the owner and the owner alone.
Please show Charlie mercy. There are more appropriate and effective options available other than death. To so easily condemn this animal sets an extremely negative precedent for future incidents of violence in the city of San Francisco, whether committed by human or not. Animals deserve our respect, and this dog has had no prior history of violence. With the proper care, he need not have a future history of violence either. Unfortunately, the route you have taken allows him no future at all. We ask that you allow Charlie this chance.