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Dog bites police officer and police horse, faces euthanasia

Posted on in Premises Liability

The fate of a male pit bull from San Francisco is in the hands of a local judge. Charlie the pit bull is accused of racing up to a mounted park police officer, biting the officer and the horse, and then chasing the horse at least a mile and a half through The Presidio. The officer was thrown from his mount and briefly lost consciousness. The horse was bitten and nipped as it made a beeline for its stable. The dog's owner says an inexperienced, poorly trained police horse caused the whole episode and charges of assaulting a police officer should be thrown out.

Charlie was out running with his master last month when he veered over towards the horse. The pit bull first bit the heel of the officer's boot, then chomped down on the horse's front leg. The startled animal reared and the officer was thrown to the ground. The horse took off at a full gallop with the pit bull in pursuit. Police say it continued to attack the police horse until another officer on a motorcycle was able to scare the dog off with his siren and air horn.

Charlie has been declared a "vicious and dangerous dog" and was ordered put down by a superior court judge. The owner appealed, and the euthanasia has been delayed while the judge reviews the case. Charlie, meanwhile, has been neutered in hopes of calming him down somewhat.

The owner's attorney questions the city's right to kill the dog, and says the horse is to blame for the fracas. She claims it was the horse's second day on duty and it was not properly trained. The attorney told the San Francisco Chronicle, "I believe that when a working horse encounters a dog that the response from the horse should just be to stand still and remain calm. I believe that a horse trained to work in public wouldn't be as skittish and wouldn't fight." The charges of assaulting an officer, assaulting a police horse and failing to restrain a pet are still pending.

Source: ABA Journal, " Calif. judge ponders whether pit bull that bit cop, chased police horse 1.6 miles should be put down," Martha Neil, Sep. 19, 2012

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