Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Pit Bull Sentenced to Death in Horse Attack Will Get Federal Court Hearing

By Jay Barmann, from SFist

Remember Charlie, the two-year-old pit bull/Staffordshire terrier that attacked the National Park Service police horse at Crissy Green over the summer and was subsequently given a death sentence by Animal Care & Control? Well, five months and a campaign later, the dog remains alive and in the city's custody, and Charlie's owner David Gizzarelli still has not relinquished custody. Now Gizzarelli's lawyer has gotten them a hearing in U.S. District Court on January 11, at which point he will argue that the city's practice with regard to judging and sentencing problem animals is unconstitutional because it's all done by a single investigator.

The incident that started it all happened on August 6 when Charlie was running around off-leash at Crissy Field and spotted his first horse, Stoney, with Park Policeman Howard Levitt astride it. Charlie then chased and attacked the horse, biting the horse's stomach and locking on to a rear leg and caused the horse to throw off its rider. The dog then chased the horse around a stable until the horse eventually kicked him. Then Animal Car & Control had to come and get the freaked out dog, and he's been in lockup ever since.

The Examiner reports that Gizzarelli has also been collecting donations via Causes to help fight this case, though he won't say how much he's collected. The city now says that Charlie can live if Gizzarelli will relinquish custody and allow Charlie to go to a rescue organization. He still contends the city should never have held the dog captive all this time.

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