Dog attack prompts leash patrols 

Patrols are being increased in Golden Gate Park in an effort to prevent future dog attacks similar to the events that put two people in the hospital Thursday morning.

Officer Albie Esparza said The City has off-leash laws and this is an effort to enforce them.

“We’re stepping up patrols so we don’t have this situation occur again,” Esparza said. “Thankfully, no one was injured too badly.”

There are 27 off-leash areas in The City — four in Golden Gate Park. None of them are located near Thursday’s attacks, he said.

Esparza said he did not know how long the patrols would last. The dog owners, who are thought to have been  illegally breeding pit bulls and other dogs for sale and living in a homeless encampment, have not been found.

The attack happened around 6:30 a.m. near Transverse and John F. Kennedy drives when two women and a man were approached by a male pit bull and what appeared to be a female mixed breed, according to Animal Care and Control.

Bela Martin, 71, of San Francisco, suffered a bite that reached the bone, according to police. She was listed in fair condition at San Francisco General Hospital on Thursday evening.

The man was taken to UCSF hospital with non-lifethreatening injures. The second woman had her clothing torn, and was not hospitalized.

Esparza said authorities increased patrols Thursday to identify the owners of the dogs and enforce leash laws. The fine for an unleashed dog is $27.

The female dog was captured by Lloyd Lake. The pit bull was found hours later. He was shot by nonlethal bean bags, and a bullet grazed his head. He may not survive.

Officer John Denny said the pit bull was aggressive. If the owners do not come forward, both dogs may be humanely killed.
Denny said the pit bull was not neutered, and the two dogs were likely a breeding couple. Non-neutered pit bulls are illegal in The City.

Mayor Gavin Newsom and police Chief George Gascón have tried to regulate owners of Haight Street dogs by backing a law that would make it illegal to sit or lie on public sidewalks. The Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 against the legislation.

Bad-dog behavior fueled by volatile environment

By Sarah Haughey
Special to The Examiner

An unstable upbringing, like one in a homeless encampment, may be dangerous for some dogs.

The dogs who attacked three people in Golden Gate Park on Thursday are believed to be owned by a homeless person or persons.

“It is possible that the homeless owners are not being methodical in getting rid of the fear in their animals,” said Teal Good of Good Dog!, which offers dog day care and training.

An unstable upbringing can be particularly dangerous for breeds such as pit bulls — the breed in Thursdays attacks — which already possess a predisposition toward aggression.

While most dogs bite out of fear, pit bulls do not need to be upset to fight, Good said.

When trained and properly cared for, pit bulls are smart and intelligent animals. But when left to their own devices, they can become territorial or violent.

“The homeless owners may not have the capacity to train these dogs, which could pose problems for these animals,” said trainer John Vinton of SuperDog, a dog-walking and training organization.

Also problematic with the dogs involved in Thursday’s attacks may be their use in illegal breeding.

“There is the genetic issue of passing on aggression in these animals,” said Beverly Ulbrich, founder of Pooch Coach private-training service who also works with dogs in television and movies. “It depends on what they’re being raised for, but aggression breeds aggression.”

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