About that dog Charlie

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(91)

Nothing like a dog story to captivate a city that has so much else going on. And while there are (sadly) dogs euthanized in this city fairly often, mostly because they're unadoptable or found to be dangerous, the particulars of Charlie's story -- and the press attention it's gotten -- has turned this one incident into a world-wide campaign against the Canine Death Penalty.

You can't call the City Attorney's Office about it; the voice mail is full. You can't call Animal Control and Welfare -- the lines direct you to an email address. There are so many callers demanding a reprieve for the American Staffordshire Terrier (aka St. Francis Terrier, aka pit bull) that nobody at City Hall can handle them all.

Supporters have gathered more than 100,000 signatures on a petition to save him. He made the front page of the Examiner. And now, insiders tell me, the folks who run San Francisco are trying to find a clean way out.

Let's face it: If the execution date goes forward, there will be TV trucks lined up all over, a doggie-death countdown, animal-rights protests -- basically, a clusterfuck that will make the City of St. Francis look horrible.

In other words: If you kill the dog, it's going to be a public-relations disaster.

But here's the thing: City law gives Police Officer John Denny, of the department's Vicious and Dangerous Dog Unit, full authority to order a critter euthanized. There is no appeal; his call is final. And he's made his decision: Death for Charlie.

So Charlie's owner, David Gizzarelli, has hired a lawyer and is fighting in court. The latest stay expires at the end of December. It's a long shot that a judge will overrule Denny -- but it's entirely possible that somebody at City Hall will try to find a solution short of the Ultimate Penalty. There are all kinds of options -- the dog could be taken away from Denny and adopted somewhere else. Denny could order that the dog be kept on leash at all times (an excellent idea anyway). It could be sent to a behavior-modification trainer.

Look: I'm not a big fan of pit bulls. They're powerful animals who were bred to be dangerous. They can make fine pets, but I don't think they should be allowed (in general) to run off leash in crowded areas. The city's mandatory neuter law is a good thing, and helps, but still: Treat these often-adorable creatures as constant potential -- potential -- threats, and you're going to be better off.

Yeah, the dog attacked a police horse. Lots of dogs who have never seen horses freak out around them; a good reason why the cops shouldn't ride horses into an off-leash dog park.

I'm not a dog trainer or behaviorist, and I haven't met this dog, but I'm generally against the death penalty, including for animals, if there's any other feasible option. And whatever the outcome, I can tell you there are lot of other people in official SF who are sick of hearing about Charlie and would really, really like to find a way for it all to go away.

Comments

Wow

I actually agree with an SFBG story for the first time in months.

Posted by The Commish on Dec. 13, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

My favorite Tim story was when he gave a talk at the old Stacey's bookstore on the subject of journalists who go to prison rather than reveal their sources.

He talked about Josh Wolf and a few others whom the audience had barely heard of if at all. But he conspicuously and studiously avoided all mention of what was easily the biggest case like that in US history i.e. Judith Miller.

For obvious reasons, of course.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 13, 2012 @ 3:58 pm

Thank God. I've been losing sleep

Posted by Guest on Dec. 15, 2012 @ 3:52 pm

who couldn't control his animal. A well-trained dog would obey its owner's command to stop and wouldn't attack another animal in the first place. This is not the fault of the Park Police or the poor horse who was mauled, nor is it Charlie's fault - it's the owner's fault for having an uncontrollable animal and unfortunately the dog must pay the price.

I don't care what people around the world have to say on this matter - they don't live here and they won't have to deal with the repercussions of letting lose a dog which has proven it's uncontrollable.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Dec. 13, 2012 @ 3:46 pm

Dear Lucretia,

I do live here, and I have a dog. I'm sorry you can't deal with people standing up for a dog that's going to be murdered. I agree with you that it's unfortunate that the dog's owner couldn't control him, but then again bringing a horse into an off-leash area for dog's wasn't exactly the best idea for the officer, now was it? You dont' have to answer that, I already know the answer.

I hope one day you'll find some compassion in your heart for others who deal with tough situations. If it was your dog the city was trying to kill after biting a horse (BTW, the horse and officer are both fine and back to work), I would be happy to join the chorus of San Franciscans and dog lovers throughout the world to help save your dog.

I have a question for you though, do you believe in the death sentence for assault?

If not, why would you advocate for the death sentence for this dog? This is assault. Plain and simple.

Posted by Tom on Dec. 13, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

maudlin, sentimental, cove in the house.

Word: sometimes animals have to die, like the ones that were killed to make you that Whopper.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 13, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

as humans in our society and idiots like you who insist dangerous animals should be treated as wayward friends are the types who are routinely killed by sharks, bears and yes - dogs because they think nature is their friend. It's not.

The dog attacked a police horse, it continued to maul the horse even after being ordered to stop (well-trained dogs obey commands) and pursued the horse causing it severe injuries and injuring the rider. Imagine if a disabled person or small child had wandered into the off-leash area and been attacked - would we even be having this stupid discussion about whether it was assault or not?

Kill the dog and ban its stupid and reckless owner from owning another animal.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Dec. 13, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

You gave away your credibility by calling your fellow poster an idiot. In my book.

Posted by Daniele E. on Dec. 13, 2012 @ 9:32 pm

then he attacked a horse, which he severely mauled. Anyone advocating for a dangerous animal and claiming it should be afforded the same rights as a human being IS an idiot.

The poster should head out to the Farallons and spend some time communing with Great White Sharks. Maybe you should join him too Daniele.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Dec. 13, 2012 @ 9:46 pm

Why are you so passionate to get this dog killed, dog killer? You're disgusting for wishing harm onto people's family pets. Nobody's on your side/

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

and that matters a lot more than some bullshit petition. I wipe my ass with paper worth more than the useless petition urging freedom for an aggressive pit bull. Maybe I'll use Charlie's ashes on my flower bed too.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Dec. 21, 2012 @ 2:34 pm
Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

Notice they didn't refer to "animal companions" ;-)

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Dec. 21, 2012 @ 3:24 pm

Maybe Charlie should have attacked you because you are a horses-ass!

Posted by Charmaine on Jan. 04, 2013 @ 10:09 pm

Maybe one day you will learn to really love something deeply. Until then, you cannot and will not know the depths of true love whether it be toward a human or a family pet. The hatefulness of your email is cold and heartless.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 31, 2012 @ 8:14 am

You really come across as an uneducated individual, Lucretia. And joke's on you, as Charlie is NOT being put down. I hope someday you find yourself staring down the barrel of a gun held by the government and that you have nobody on your side.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 04, 2013 @ 10:07 pm

Saying "Kill the dog!!!" makes you lose any credibility you have whatsoever. The poor dog was terrified by an animal eight times his size. That could happen to any innocent family dog. people's pets should not be executed. Horses don't belong in off leash dog ares.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2012 @ 2:12 pm

If you can't control your dog, keep it on a leash!

Don't blame external circumstances for your utter lack of sense and ability to use basic common sense.

Posted by matlock on Dec. 13, 2012 @ 7:30 pm

leash and fully under it's owner's control. That would enforce the leash law which, currently, dog owners completely ignore.

The only group of people that routinely disobey the law more than dog owners are cyclists. You guessed it - another SF sacred cow.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 13, 2012 @ 7:42 pm

It would cut back on the number of idiots in our city. The we should shoot people who speed through stoplights, which would cut out that idiotic and dangerous behavior. And while we're at it, why not shoot the trolls who have invaded this site like a bad case of lice? It would help to cut back on the assholism. I'm being facetious, of course... But come to think of it, that last suggestion might not be a good idea.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 14, 2012 @ 1:40 pm

disagrees with you.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 14, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

You're probably a troll if you... pollute the discussion with hackneyed phrases like "anyone who disagrees with you is a troll" (or variations thereof).

Posted by Greg on Dec. 14, 2012 @ 2:42 pm

So if I assert A and you gainsay it, you are being a troll.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 14, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

someone occasionally misidentifying a simple contrary opinion for trollery doesn't change that.

Trolls have marked behavior patterns.

A troll is someone who isn't in a debate to prove any point other than that they can be mightily irritating.

A troll's arguments are mostly hollow, but they *never* admit it when such is proven.

A troll favors short statements that are dense with bogus preconceptions; easy to type out, but requiring many words in response to properly dispatch.

The first point bears repeating: the trolls know that they aren't going to convince anybody they are corresponding with, but are here only to disrupt conversation and thus feel "powerful."

Posted by lillipublicans on Dec. 15, 2012 @ 8:13 am

You're here all day every day making lame "points" that an eleven year old could refute. And those opinions have to be contrary to popular opinion and common sense. You know your words convince nobody, and yet you expend hours a day trying.

That is the definition of futility and, indeed, trollery.

Posted by Anonymous on Dec. 15, 2012 @ 9:23 am

Agree with Tommy.

Let's all have compassion for doggies, shall we?

Posted by Guest on Dec. 13, 2012 @ 9:56 pm

Where did everyone (including the media) get the idea that Crissy Field is an 'off leash dog park'? It's an 130 acre space for multiple uses. It's for children to play in, the elderly to walk through, kite-flyers, picnickers, rollerbladers, bicyclists AND dogs on leash or under the voice command of their owner. The park police horses are there on a regular basis (and have been for many years) and have never been attacked before. What if Charlie gets out, visits Chrissy Field on a sunny day and decides he is scared of a kid riding a bicycle? Is everyone going to say 'poor puppy - he was scared - that kid should never have been there' if he attacks a child?

Posted by Guest Voicely O. Reason on Dec. 14, 2012 @ 9:28 am

It's federal property and the horses have been there for a long time without incident.

Assault is what the dog did to the horse as well as a person while under the care of animal control. The dog needs to go.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 31, 2012 @ 2:46 pm
yup

The owner of the dog should be gassed along with the dog.

This is so easy.

Owning a bad ass dog options...

1. You own a mean ass uncontrollable dog and let it run free, and complain when that dog goes biting.

2. You own a mean ass uncontrollable dog and you keep it on a leash and you keep a muzzle on it.

I owned two dogs that aged into cranky, so I kept each on a leash as they got older, because I knew they were old and cranky. It was very simple to control these two dogs, one I learned to control in my early teens, the second was then a result of common sense. The owner of the dog in question is an "adult" he should share the fate of his dog.

The owner of this dog should be put to sleep with his dog, he is responsible. Period. 100%.

If he is bitching at this late date he should be gassed with the dog.

Posted by matlock on Dec. 13, 2012 @ 7:27 pm

still exist even in this era of decreasing civil liberties. Capital punishment for a dog attack?

The criminal justice system (as imperfect as it is) will determine any punishment that the dog owner might face. That seems much fairer than letting the murderous fantasies of commenters emboldened by their anonymity on a blog comment page determine crime and punishment.

Gassing people? I know that it is considered impolite to draw comparisons to the Holocaust, so I won't.

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 14, 2012 @ 3:30 pm

Answer that please. Whose "civil liberties" are being violated when a dangerous animal attacks and severely injuries a police horse and menaces a human being?

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Dec. 14, 2012 @ 3:52 pm

for his/her dog's action is outside the rule of law. That is my point. I'm not defending the dog owner nor the dog. I'd prefer if the dog wasn't euthanized, but that's not my call nor do I have particularly strong feelings about it.

I'm pointing out the disproportionate hatefulness of the commentary, but, of course, I'm wasting my time. Gassing someone to death because his/her dog attacked a horse? You support that?

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 14, 2012 @ 4:07 pm

And I think everyone is aware that a lot of the commentary surrounding this issue is hyperbole. But I do think the dog owner should be abjured from owning another animal as he clearly cannot handle the responsibility. I have zero sympathy for irresponsible pet owners of ANY type.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Dec. 14, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

for his/her dog's action is outside the rule of law. That is my point. I'm not defending the dog owner nor the dog. I'd prefer if the dog wasn't euthanized, but that's not my call nor do I have particularly strong feelings about it.

I'm pointing out the disproportionate hatefulness of the commentary, but, of course, I'm wasting my time. Gassing someone to death because his/her dog attacked a horse? You support that?

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 14, 2012 @ 4:10 pm

I don't expect dude to be gassed with his dog.

I expect people who own mean dogs to deal with it as adults.

People with means dogs go from one episode to another, when that dog mauls someone... ooops.

Posted by matlock on Dec. 14, 2012 @ 10:44 pm

to misunderstand you, write what you mean instead of being mean with what you write.

Posted by Eddie on Dec. 15, 2012 @ 7:17 am

That one has been known to call out tragic suicides as "attention seeking." There is no sense to it: most simply, it is trollery.

Posted by lillipublicans on Dec. 15, 2012 @ 8:01 am

that you have no coherent case to make.

The motto of many here is, when you cannot win a debate, accuse the other party of being a "troll".

Posted by Anonymous on Dec. 15, 2012 @ 9:28 am

Suicide often seems to be self centered in a, "this will show the world" way. People seeking attention want to wallow in it, as opposed to suicide to show the world up.

Posted by matlock on Dec. 15, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

at some point you have failed with your idiocy. No one cares.

I don't expect dude to die with his mean mutt.

Posted by matlock on Dec. 14, 2012 @ 11:09 pm

It doesn't seem like Charlie was a "mean-ass" uncontrollable dog. That's ridiculous. You sound like you're 12.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2012 @ 2:17 pm

You know except the very people who do live here and do have a say. Please refrain from generalizing, it only makes you look like an idiot.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 13, 2012 @ 8:51 pm

How do you know, Lucretia, that David is a crappy dog owner? The incident happened in an off-leash area! And sometimes, apparently, a dog might react in unexpected ways to a large, unknown animal....

Geez, the only thing I see here (as usual) is vicious commentary (and I don't just mean yours).

Always trying to find a scapegoat...how 'bout a little compassion for a change?

Does life always have to go like a Norman Rockwell painting? Can you allow for the unexpected, even if it's not pleasant?

I'm all for safety, but I'm not for the usual violent reactivity....there *is* another way, even if that other way takes some imagination....I know the brain cells exist somewhere to come up with an alternative plan.

Posted by Daniele E. on Dec. 13, 2012 @ 9:29 pm
Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Dec. 13, 2012 @ 9:47 pm

No one is claiming that an off-leash zone is a "free attack zone" for dogs. But it does seems an unfortunate incident occurred there. OK. Do we have to meet this unfortunate incident involving violence with more violence? Does that make us smart? Does that teach peace? No, it does not.

Big failure of the imagination I see in these blogs...Big failure. No one can speak for peace because everyone here (for the most part) is too busy *attacking* one another. Do I really need to point this out?

And police—many of them (most? all?) are trained to be violent. What many of them need is an education in nonviolence. So we get the blunt "response" which really isn't so much a response as the same old, same old violent reaction. Pick your story.

Posted by Daniele E. on Dec. 13, 2012 @ 10:18 pm

See how well that works out for you.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Dec. 13, 2012 @ 10:29 pm

Nighty night.

Posted by Daniele E. on Dec. 13, 2012 @ 10:41 pm

Of course, that doesn't stand a chance of working when you're fighting the undead; butin such cases, teaching peace doesn't work either.

In those cases there is only ridicule.

Posted by lillipublicans on Dec. 15, 2012 @ 6:24 am

You keep comparing dogs to grizzlies and sharks! Do you know anything about domesticated animals? There is a huge difference between a domesticated pet being spooked by a horse and a wild animal attacking.

Posted by Guest on Dec. 21, 2012 @ 2:20 pm

Must be hard being perfect

Posted by Gueststroud on Dec. 15, 2012 @ 5:32 am