Pit bull attacks S.F. police horse
Cop, dog, pet owner hurt in Golden Gate Park
Demian Bulwa, Chronicle Staff Writer
Monday, November 24, 2003
A pit bull was shot, a cop and a dog walker were rushed to the hospital, and a police horse named "AAA Andy" was badly hurt but alive -- all this after a chance encounter between two animals on a crisp Sunday at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.
The chaos started at 12:50 p.m. as a young woman walked her black pit bull through the park near the Conservatory of Flowers. According to San Francisco police, she made an illegal and costly decision: She let the dog off its leash.
Witnessing the move was police Sgt. David Herrera of the department's mounted unit. He shouted at the woman, ordering her to re-leash her canine, said Sgt. Neville Gittens, a department spokesman.
That's when the dog turned its attention to Herrera's steed.
The pit bull charged AAA Andy, ripping at the horse's flesh on its back legs and its rib cage, Gittens said. The dog's owner, whose name was not released, tried to intervene. That's when things got really bad.
With the dog snapping away, AAA Andy threw Herrera to the ground. At about the same time, the dog's owner attempted to pull her pet away from the horse. But when she got close, AAA Andy kicked her in the face with a hind leg,
She went down, joining Herrera.
"Then the horse takes off running," Gittens said.
AAA Andy galloped through the park along John F. Kennedy Drive, with the pit bull close behind.
About a half-mile away, near the Eighth Avenue/Fulton Street entrance to the park, another police sergeant got involved. Sgt. Peter Dacre of San Francisco's Richmond Station had heard Herrera's radio calls for help.
Seeing a park gardener and another citizen approaching the riderless AAA Andy, the uniformed Dacre climbed out of his car to help settle down the jumpy horse.
"Then somebody shouted, 'That buggering dog is coming back!' " Dacre said.
"The dog started having another go at the horse. I was between the horse and the dog, and I tried to kick (the dog)."
It was no use. Dacre said he unholstered his .40-calibre semiautomatic Beretta pistol and ended the attack with two shots -- one of which struck the pit bull and sent it scurrying into nearby bushes.
Both Herrera and the dog owner were rushed to St. Mary's Medical Center. Herrera went home in a few hours with back and neck injuries. The woman was treated for head injuries and a broken finger, Gittens said.
Meanwhile, the dog survived the bullet wound and was picked up by Animal Care and Control. Its condition was unknown Sunday night.
AAA Andy was being treated for puncture wounds late Sunday at the police stables in Golden Gate Park.
Herrera, reached at home Sunday night, declined comment.
Police will review the dog's history to see if it has ever been involved in other attacks. Then police will decide whether to cite or charge the dog's owner, Dacre said.
"I think this just goes to the basic unpredictability of certain breeds of dogs," he said. "The dog was frenzied. The whole thing lasted about 45 seconds.''
E-mail Demian Bulwa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This is so typical of pit bull owners. They can be very irresponsible and just simply do not undterstand what there animal is capable of.
This is why they should be banned as pets.
I hope the city throws the book at this fool. She should buy the City of San Francisco a new horse and pay the maximum fine including jail time for this. This is no different than letting a retard run through the park with a semi-automatic weapon.