Animal Law

Owner of Pit Bull That Chased Police Horse 1.5 Miles Gets Federal Court Order to Delay Euthanasia


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The owner of a pit bull named Charlie who is facing a state-court euthanasia order after reportedly chasing a police horse a mile and a half in a San Francisco park last year has filed suit in federal court to get a restraining order.

Although city officials have expressed interest in trying to find a place in an animal sanctuary for Charlie, owner David Gizzarelli says he hesitates to surrender ownership because doesn’t trust city officials to properly oversee the care of his pet, which he describes as a typical family dog, KTVU reports.

An independent veterinary behaviorist reportedly has found the dog to have a severe predatory behavior issue. However, many observers have rallied to support Charlie, arguing that the police horse wasn’t properly trained to deal with dogs and pointing out that the pit bull was in an area of the park that did not require dogs to be on leash.

“I saw the wounds but I’m not sure how they occurred”, Gizzarelli told the station, referring to injuries on the U.S. park police horse, who is known as Stoney, after the chase.

A federal court hearing is set for Friday.

Additional coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Calif. Judge Ponders Whether Pit Bull That Bit Cop, Chased Police Horse 1.6 Miles Should Be Put Down”

San Francisco Chronicle (opinion): “Pit bull Charlie should never be free”

San Francisco Examiner: “Stoney the horse back in action after incident with Charlie the dog”

San Francisco Examiner: “Animal groups hoping Charlie the dog’s owner will give up custody”

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