Tasered dog walker — before he was zapped — told park ranger he had a heart condition
A new twist in the case of the Tasered dog walker: After a park ranger informed him she would use her Taser if he walked away, Gary Hesterberg informed her he had a heart condition.
She, seconds later, as he turned her back to her, fired anyway, according to a witness quoted in a Patch.com report.
Given the offense Hesterberg was being detained for was an unleashed dog, given the park ranger’s mission that day was supposedly “educating” dog owners about the new policy, we feel her use of a stun gun falls clearly into the category of over-reacting.
Her use of force was not just unnecessary, it was potentially deadly, and even though Hesterberg originally supplied her with a phony name, even if he may have been argumentative, even if he was aware that the park service had started requiring leashes in Rancho Corral de Tierra two months earlier, the bottom line is 50,000 volts of electricity for one unleashed dog doesn’t add up to anything but brutality.
Howard Levitt, spokesman for the park service, said Hesterberg repeatedly tried to flee the scene, and that the encounter between the dog walker and the park ranger ”moved into a different realm” when Hesterberg gave her a fake name.
“He didn’t have ID and gave a name that turned out to not be his actual name … In checking that out — it’s standard procedure to run somebody’s name when you’re dealing with someone who might be a danger — she asked him to remain on the scene, as we understand it, and more than once he refused to stay there,” Levitt said
If Hesterberg had been placing strange packages under the Golden Gate Bridge, that would be one thing. But he was walking his dogs. There is no reason — other than over zealous law enforcement, which isn’t a good reason at all — that should escalate into a potentially deadly encounter.
Given a choice of worst case scenarios, I think allowing Hesterberg to go home, and catching him, if it’s really all that important, the next day would be preferable to potentially executing a man for an unleashed dog — if not for reasons of logic, then at least for the park service’s public image.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 3rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, california, dog walker, dogs, editorial, gary hesterberg, golden gate national recreation area, law enforcement, leash laws, montara, national park service, park ranger, pets, rancho corral de tierra, stun gun, taser, unleashed, walking