San Francisco dog’s life hangs in the balance

On December 31 (New Year’s Eve) an 18-month-old American Staffordshire Terrier named Charlie will find out if he is to be put down in San Francisco.

A San Francisco judge will decide Wednesday if Charlie should die following the dog’s attack on a horse on Aug. 6.

Charlie is currently on death row at Animal Care and Control for an incident on Aug. 6, when the dog and his owner, David Gizzarelli, were in the off-leash unfenced dog park at Crissy Field.

According to the police report, the dog saw Park Police Officer Eric Evans riding his horse named Stony. Charlie ran toward the officer, despite Gizzarelli’s verbal commands to restrain the dog, and bit the officer’s boot, causing no injury.

The dog then bit Stoney on the left front leg, causing the horse to throw his rider to the ground, where Evans was knocked unconscious. The horse ran back to his stable with Charlie in pursuit; when he arrived at the location, the dog bit Stoney a few more times.

Stoney then ran approximately 1.6 miles before a Park Officer on a motorcycle scared Charlie away.

The dog was treated for wounds sustained to his leg and stomach. Officer Evans suffered a concussion and an injured shoulder.

Charlie has been incarcerated since August 23; he was deemed a dangerous and vicious dog to be euthanized. According to Gizzarelli, the dog has never shown any aggressive behavior and had never seen a horse before Aug. 6.

Since the incident, Charlie has developed following of supporters. An online petition to free the dog has 90,000 signatures, and his owner sued the city of San Francisco, which got Charlie a stay of execution. The dog currently has no visitation rights.

“All the people out there supporting us are such a blessing,” Gizzarelli told the San Francisco Examiner. “It’s just amazing how everyone has come together; we are so blessed in all of this.”

You can sign the online petition at and read more about the dog at the Help Save Charlie and City Attorney of San Francisco Facebook pages.

Sources:, NBC Bay Area, San Francisco Examiner