Tag: national park service
David Gizzarelli took in more than $17,000 in donations from big-hearted dog lovers in what he described as an attempt to save his dog Charlie, who was deemed dangerous after attacking a National Park Service horse.
But his attorney says Gizzarelli is unable to help out with the $9,000-plus tab for veterinary care, feeding and shelter that Charlie, an American Staffordshire terrier, has received since last August, when he was taken into the custody of animal control in San Francisco.
Apparently the $17,000 that was donated was spent on attorney fees, paying for the horse’s vet bills and “other living expenses.” That’s what Gizzarelli’s new attorney says, adding that his client can’t afford to help pay the bill and is currently sleeping in his car.
On Monday, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins ordered Gizzarelli to pay anyway — specifically, half of the costs for boarding and treating Charlie since the incident.
Gizzarelli is still raising money to “help save Charlie” — via a Facebook page and his Help Save Charlie website — even though he has relinquished ownership of the dog, who is now in foster care and will likely end up in an adoptive home or sanctuary.
Until his court appearance, he had not provided any accounting of where the donated money went, according to the San Francisco Examiner.
Charlie has been in the custody of Animal Care and Control in San Francisco since August, when he was deemed “vicious and dangerous” by the police department. The cost for housing him and providing veterinary care for an earlier injury totaled $9,808 as of Monday’s hearing.
Gizzarelli, in an earlier settlement, agreed to give up custody of Charlie and attend a hearing to discuss payment for Charlie’s care.
But he kept selling “Help Save Charlie” merchandise and collecting donations even after that. And while Charlie could probably still use help — he hasn’t been deemed adoptable yet — it appears little if any of the donated money has gone for the dog.
Questions during Monday’s hearing revolved around the amount of legal fees Gizzarelli paid to two attorneys, and $3,000 his attorney said was spent on ”food, transportation and housing” — apparently for the human, not the dog.
Gizzarelli’s attorney, Orestes Cross, said his client has no money. “My client is on social welfare, living on $422 a month and sleeping out of his car,” told the judge during the hearing. “He fought the fight because he cares about his dog.”
Rebecca Katz, director of Animal Care and Control, says some donors to Charlie are likely upset. “I don’t believe those who contributed expected that money to go toward personal expenses,” she said. Since the settlement, Charlie has been in foster care. According to Katz, he needs several more months of training before he can be considered for adoption or placed in a sanctuary.
Gizzarelli faced federal assault charges after the attack on the police horse, but according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office those have been dropped.
(Photo: Help Save Charlie Facebook page)
Posted by jwoestendiek April 24th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accountability, accounting, american staffordshire terrier, animal control, attacked, avid gizzarelli, bills, care, charlie, court, donations, donatoins, donors, expenses, facebook, feeding, help save charlie, horse, magistrate, money, national park service, park service, san francisco, shelter, veterinary, website
A civil rights lawsuit was filed in federal court yesterday on behalf of Gary Hesterberg, the California man who was Tased by a National Park Service ranger after being detained for having one of his two small dogs off-leash.
“There is something seriously wrong when walking your dog off leash in a National Park can get you Tased,” said Michael J. Haddad, Hesterberg’s attorney.
”The law is clear that an officer may only Tase someone who poses a substantial and immediate threat. All Gary Hesterberg did was walk away after receiving his leash warning.”
Hesterburg, an electrician from Montara, California, had previously filed an administrative claim seeking $500,000 in compensation from the United States and the ranger for his injuries and the violation of his civil rights.
That claim — a prerequisite to filing a lawsuit against the government — was rejected by the Department of the Interior on January 25, 2013. The complaint filed in court yesterday is a federal civil rights lawsuit.
Park Ranger Sarah Cavallaro stopped Hesterberg in January of 2012 as he was walking his dogs in Golden Gate National Recreation Area and warned him that both of his dogs needed to be on a leash.
When Hesterberg attempted to walk away with his dogs she shot him in the back with her Taser, caused him to be arrested, and had him taken to jail, the lawsuit says.
Hesterberg, the lawsuit says, told Cavallaro he had a heart condition before she Tased him.
The lawsuit says the type of Taser used can deliver 50,000 volts of electricity. After the ranger pulled the Taser barbs from his back, Hesterberg remained in handcuffs for three hours, and remained in jail until after midnight, the lawsuit says.
The district attorney declined to pursue any charges against him.
The United States Department of the Interior found that Ranger Cavallaro’s conduct was consistent with park service policies: “From our review of the circumstances surrounding the tasing for Mr. Hesterberg, it appears that the officer’s actions were reasonable.”
(Photo: Hesterberg and his dogs, a beagle and rat terrier, San Francisco Chronicle)
Posted by jwoestendiek March 22nd, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, california, civil rights, dog, dog walking, dogs, federal court, gary hesterberg, golden gate national recreation area, lawsuit, leash, national park service, pets, ranger, rules, tased, taser, tasing, unleashed, walking
After a string of recent deaths, the Coast Guard is warning residents and visitors to Northern California’s coast not to try to rescue their dogs from the ocean.
Five people have drowned since November as they tried to save pets swept into the ocean by rogue waves.
Coast Guard, National Park and SPCA officials held a joint press conference Friday, aimed at spreading public awareness about water safety for pets and their owners.
Allison Lindquist, executive director of the East Bay SPCA, was among those advising pet owners not to go into rough ocean waters to save their dog.
“Dogs are naturally better swimmers because of their horizontal body mass,” Lindquist said. “They are built better for riding out the current.” She said the best thing to do is to follow the dog parallel to the shoreline and call its name.
“Just let the dog do its thing,” Lindquist said. “When the current subsides, the dog will swim back.”
Rogue or “sneaker” waves have claimed five lives in three separate incidents this winter, according to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
In each case, their dogs survived.
In November, a powerful surf swept a family dog out to sea at Big Lagoon Beach near Arcata in Humboldt County. The teenage son swam out to save the pet. Then the child’s mother and father noticed him struggling and swam out to save him. All three died. The dog made it back to shore.
On New Year’s Day, Charles Quaid, 59, of Richmond, died after attempting to rescue his wife and dog.
Last Sunday, Susan Kay Archer, 32, of Shelter Cove, was walking on Little Black Sand Beach with her boyfriend when she was swept out to sea with her dog and drowned. The dog made it back to shore.
Gabe Pulliam, a 13-year veteran of the Coast Guard and rescue swimmer, said most citizens they lack the equipment and training to rescue a dog from rough and frigid waters.
“People who walk their dogs on the beach and notice strong surf should stay above the line where the water laps up,” Pulliam said. “It’s fun to watch the waves roll in, but respect the ocean and never turn your back on it.”
Pulliam is featured in a handout about pets and ocean safety released by the Coast Guard.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 5th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, beaches, california, coast guard, dangers, deaths, dogs, national park service, northern california, ocean, pacific, pets, rescue, rogue waves, safety, sea, sneaker waves, spca, swept, trying, warning, waves
A dog was rescued from the side of a cliff near Fort Funston in San Francisco last week.
Firefighters responded Wednesday to a report of a woman and dog going over the side of a cliff, NBCBayArea.com reported. The woman managed to get down to the beach, but firefighters had to work their way to the dog, place it in a harness and hoist it to safety.
The National Park Service said they have to rescue dogs and people from the cliff several times a year, and that Wednesday’s rescue was their second in a week.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 4th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cliff, dog, dogs, firefighters, fort funston, national park service, pets, photo, rescue, safety, san francisco
Using a stun gun to subdue a man whose dog was unleashed was not a violation of policy, the National Park Service says.
The park service’s Office of Professional Responsibility cleared ranger Sarah Cavallaro of potential discipline in April, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Tuesday.
Cavallaro used a stun gun on Gary Hesterberg, 51, after detaining him for walking at least one of his dogs without a leash in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in January. She said Hesterberg gave her a false name and refused repeated orders to remain at the scene.
This week, Rep. Jackie Speier released a letter she received from Frank Dean, the general superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. It said Cavallaro’s use of the stun gun was “within policy and consistent with the training she received.”
Speier, who believes using the stun gun “reeks of inappropriate use of power,” has been trying to get the park service to discuss the findings of its investigation into the incident since April, but had been told they are confidential.
“…The way the (park service) has handled it since they’ve completed the investigation reflects a sense of arrogance,” she said.
Hesterberg was arrested on suspicion of failing to obey a lawful order, having dogs off-leash and providing false information, but San Mateo County prosecutors declined to charge him.
A lawyer representing Hesterberg filed a $500,000 claim with the park service last month.
(Photo: San Francisco Chronicle)
Posted by jwoestendiek August 30th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, discipline, dog, dogs, dogwalking, findings, gary hesterberg, golden gate national recreation area, investigation, jackie speier, leashes, national park service, park ranger, pets, policy, stun gun, unleashed
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
Congresswoman Jackie Speier is asking for an investigation into last weekend’s arrest of a dog walker who was Tasered by a park ranger in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area near Montara.
Speier sent a letter to GGNRA Superintendent Frank Dean expressing her concerns and requesting information about the arrest of Gary Hesterberg, of Montara, who was walking his dogs off-leash when stopped by the park ranger.
“Many of my constituents are understandably angered by what appears to be an excessive use of force by a park ranger,” Speier said “From the information I have to date, it does not appear that the use of a Taser was warranted.”
Speier worked closely with state officials on the use of tear gas, stun guns and pepper spray while she was in the California legislature, a local NBC affiliate reported.
She says she has requested information about training in Taser usage for park rangers and also about how the public was informed about dog policy changes at Rancho Corral de Tierra.
According to witnesses, the dog owner — who had one of his two dogs leashed when he was stopped — repeatedly asked why he was being detained, and eventually told the ranger to cite him or he was going to walk away.
“He started to walk away and she told him that she would Tase him if he walked another step,” one witness said. When the man turned, the ranger deployed her Taser, causing him to fall to the ground.
Advocate groups for dog owners, including Montara Dog and DogPAC of San Francisco, have asked the National Park Service to investigate the incident and to cease ticketing dog walkers in Rancho Corral de Tierra.
GGNRA officials said the dog walker provided false information to the ranger and refused the ranger’s repeated orders to remain at the scene while his identity was confirmed. They said they are are reviewing the incident.
The 3,800-acre property was transferred to the park service by the Peninsula Open Space Trust in December. While dogs were once allowed off leash there, the park service changed the rules, requiring all dogs be on leashes.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 3rd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, california, congresswoman, dog walker, dogs, gary hesterberg, golden gate national recreation area, jackie speier, leash, leashed, montara, national park service, park ranger, pets, rancho corral de tierra, rules, stun gun, tased, taser, tasered, unleashed
In San Francisco, that might be happening — dog owners have mobilized to play a role in the upcoming mayoral election.
Whether it ends up being a decisive role or not, signs are it’s already making the much-needed and often overlooked point that, while dogs can’t vote, their owners can and do.
And, by virtue of that, this point as well, with apologies to Woody Guthrie: This land is your land, this land is my land, but it’s also dogs’ land. So give them access to some of it.
Dog PAC, a recently formed political action committee in San Francisco, held a forum over the weekend attended by seven of 16 mayoral hopefuls. It has since endorsed a candidate in the upcoming election — John Avalos.
At the forum, candidates for mayor in the Nov. 8 election were asked about the cost of dog licenses, dog waste, pet-friendly rental housing and about what has emerged as the biggest doggie issue — the federal government’s proposal to ban off-leash dogs in much of Golden Gate National Recreation Area. The National Park Service is considering mandating leashes in some open spaces and fencing off some popular dog-walking areas to protect native plant and animal species.
With an estimated 100,000 dog owners in the city — with San Francisco being one of several cities in which dogs now outnumber children — dog-owning voters, some pundits are saying, could have a major impact in the November election, and beyond.
In a way, they already are, with some candidates making it a point to publicize their stands on dog issues.
“Making San Francisco a family friendly city means recognizing the multitude of ways in which we define families,” City Attorney Dennis Herrera says on his campaign website. “And in the city of St. Francis, that includes dogs and companion animals.”
Candidate Joanna Rees held her own “Bark in the Park” forum several weeks ago, according to USA Today.
“Dogs are an important part of many families and neighborhoods across our community,” said Rees. “Open lines of communication between City Hall and pet owners … are the foundation of good policy.”
“Dogs are as much an issue as children … There are a lot [of] parent-teachers associations, we’re just like them, but only for the dogs,” said Dog Pac president Bruce Wolfe.
“All different people and all different industries have lobbyists and political action committees looking out for them,” said dog owner Justin Kleisley. “I think it’s good for dogs.”
We agree, and we’d like to see a lot more local dog PACS — from California to the New York island.
Posted by jwoestendiek October 5th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ban, candidates, dog pac, dogs, election, endorsement, forum, golden gate national recreation area, issues, john avalos, mayor, mayoral, national park service, numbers, off-leash, political action committee, politics, power, race, san francisco, vote
Let’s hear it for the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
By a 10 to 1 vote, supervisors went on record opposing a federal proposal to restrict dogs in parts of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
The National Park Service earlier this year proposed to “completely or significantly reduce” the off-leash areas in the recreation area to “strike a balance between park landscape, native wildlife and the 16 million visitors.”
The park service is considering mandating leashes in open spaces where dogs currently roam free and banning them entirely in some popular dog-walking areas.
Dog lovers responded to the proposal swiftly, labeling it “extreme environmentalism,” and even considered suing the federal government if the proposal passed, according to the website Curbed.
In early April, Supervisor Scott Weiner introduced a resolution in opposition to the proposed dog policies. This week, all but one of the supervisors voted for it — in part out of concern that restricting dogs on the federal park land could overburden city parks.
The National Park Service has proposed restricting dogs from San Francisco’s Crissy Field, Ocean Beach and Fort Funston, which are among the most popular places to take dogs in the city.
Federal officials are still taking public comment on the plan and expect to put new rules in place next year.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 28th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, board of supervisors, changes, crissy field, dog friendly, dogs, environmental, fort funston, golden gate, golden gate national recreation area, impact, leash, national park service, ocean beach, off-leash, park service, pets, policy, proposed, restrictions, san francisco, supervisors, unleashed
It took eight years to build the Glen Canyon Dam — far less to construct the scenic overlook that sits on the edge of the canyon, about a mile south.
Unlike the dam itself, a massive and complex project, building the overlook was a simple matter of putting in a road and parking, adding some steps to make the sandstone trail down to the overlook easier to negotiate, and putting up a stone wall at the base — to keep tourists from plunging from the top of the sheer canyon walls to the river 400 feet below.
The wall is short enough to look over, but its actual height varies, depending on where the wind blows the sand. Yesterday it was about four feet high in some spots, with one tiny section that, for reasons unknown, was built shorter than the rest — only about two feet high. Above the short wall, there’s a steel grate that rises vertically — bolted and cemented firmly into place.
And hidden on that grate — visible only if you look closely — are two names, scrawled with a soldering iron: Cisco and Sadie.
As you might guess, there’s a story behind that grate – previously untold, and very sad.
The ballad of Cisco and Sadie began in Idaho, which is where Dail Hoskins was living before he decided on a change of scenery and moved to Page, Arizona in 2000, bringing his two dogs with him.
Page, less than 50 years old, had emerged as a popular recreation spot by then, thanks to construction of the Glen Canyon Dam, which allowed — or forced, depending on your point of view — the Colorado River to back up and form Lake Powell.
Construction on the dam began in 1956. It’s the reason the town of Page exists, and it provides water and electricity to much of the west. It was also very controversial, and still is. While completion of the dam in 1964 allowed water and electricity to be harnessed, it also represented a huge disturbance to the ecosystem and meant the loss of much of the beautiful scenery of Glen Canyon. The controversy surrounding the building of the dam is viewed by some as the beginning of the modern-day environmental movement, and it still sparks debates pitting nature against industrial progress.
Partly to showcase the government-built dam — one of the largest in the U.S. — the overlook was built later. It’s part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, falling under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service.
The trail down to the overlook is less than a mile. The view, minus the power lines, is magnificent. To Hoskins, who after arriving in Page had bought a little motel, the overlook seemed a good place to take his dogs, Cisco and Sadie, for a hike.
It was about ten years ago that he took the dogs there, and let them both off their leashes. They were generally good about sticking close by and not wandering off.
But, after a few minutes, when Hoskins looked around to find Cisco and Sadie, both had disappeared. He feared the worst, and what happened turned out to be just that. One of the dogs, not being able to see over the wall, had — maybe in pursuit of wildlife — leapt over that shorter section, plunging hundreds of feet to his death. The other immediately followed.
Hoskins blamed no one but himself, and watching his face as he retells the story, it’s clear he still lives with the guilt. In the days after losing his dogs, he hired a river outfitter to take him to retrieve their corpses, then gave them a proper burial.
Hoskins later learned that at least four other dogs had met the same fate, plunging over the same short section of wall. When he called government bureaucrats to tell them what happened to his dogs and see if that short section of wall could be built up, he was told that his dogs should have been on leashes.
He agrees that much is true, but the hazard remained. So he decided to handle things himself. He welded together slabs of steel, forming a large, barred grate, about five feet wide and five feet high. And without getting anybody’s approval, he snuck down to the site with a friend in the dark of night, carrying along the grate, cement, water and tools.
Amazingly, this being just after 9/11, and amid a period of heightened security at the dam, no one noticed he was there. He secured the grate deep in the ground using concrete, filling the gap that existed over the short section of wall. It took a few hours.
No one has ever traced the work to him, and apparently no one was angered by his addition. The park service has affixed a sign to the grate that reads: “Defacing natural features destroys our heritage. Graffiti is unsightly and illegal.”
It appears Hoskins got away with his dark-of-night, do-it-yourself construction project.
“I did it so it wouldn’t happen to any more dogs … or kids,” he says, though one gets the impression the covert project also served as both an outlet for his grief and a tribute to his dogs.
On one rail of the grate, he inscribed with solder the names of Cisco and Sadie.
Ten years later, the blowing sandstone has yet to brush their names off, and the grate still stands firmly in place, solid as a rock.
(To read all of “Dog’s Country,” from the beginning, click here.)
Posted by jwoestendiek July 2nd, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: area, arizona, canyons, cisco, cliffs, colorado river, construction, dail hoskins, dam, danger, dangerous, deaths, dogs, environment, environmental movement, fall, glen canyon, grate, hike, hiking, hiking with dogs, lake powell, leash, leashed, national park service, national recreation area, overlook, page, plunge, rail, sadie, safety, scenic, scenic overlook, unleashed, wall