SAN FRANCISCO CA - PIT BULLS OWNED BY HOMELESS PERSON ATTACKED A FRIEND
TWO PIT BULLS allegedly attacked a man at about 10:30pm Tuesday at a homeless emcampment near 25th Avenue and Lincoln Way. Animal Care and Control, Lt. Denise Bongiovanni said the owner -- a homeless man -- left his dogs with a friend in a meadow while he went to get groceries.
“We don't know what prompted the attack,” said Bongiovanni, “but his friend was then attacked by one or both dogs. We understand that he suffered bite wounds to his legs and an arm.”
The man suffered several bites and a second person who tried to intervene was also bitten, police said.
Officers arrived and found one of the pit bulls, Frisco, and fatally shot it. The second dog, Cleo, ran off but was found shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday near Haight and Stanyan streets and was safely captured, animal care officials said.
“She was with a group of young homeless people,” said Bongiovanni. “And apparently she had wandered to an encampment and found a friend of the owner's.”
“‘Despite our limited staffing and funding, our Animal Control Officers would not leave the park until they had the second dog in their custody and could ensure public safety. I am proud of our dedicated staff,” said Rebecca Katz, Director of San Francisco Animal Care and Control.
“It’s unfortunate that these incidents have a negative effect on pit bull adoptions. The breed can make wonderful, loving companions,” added Katz later in the statement.
Animal Care and Control officials released a photo and video of the two pit bulls that were taken when they were previously in the department's custody in December after an RV was towed with the two dogs inside.
“Shortly after that, the owner was arrested and the dogs, I believe, were stray roaming and brought in,” said Bongiovanni
Department spokeswoman Deb Campbell said the owner of the dogs has been identified but said she did not know if he would be cited for Tuesday's incident.
The man who suffered multiple dog bites was taken to a hospital in stable condition while the second victim declined medical treatment, police said.
Director of San Francisco's Recreation and Parks Department Phil Ginsburg told KTVU the attacks highlight the dangers of unleashed dogs and illegal camping in the parks.
But Bongiovanni said not every homeless person is a bad pet owner.
“It's sort of a mixed bag. We have very responsible owners out there who are down on their luck and just happen to be homeless that seem to have control over their animals,” said Bongiovanni. “And then we have people who don't seem to have control over their animals and have a more sketchy or questionable temperament.”
Cleo will be held at Animal Care and Control headquarters for a vicious and dangerous dog hearing and for a mandatory 10-day observation to check for rabies, according to the department.
The fatal shooting of a dog is the second by San Francisco police in less than a week.
At about 10:30 a.m. Saturday, officers with the department's housing unit were investigating a report of a squatter living with a dog named “Psycho” in a vacant unit in the 1000 block of Connecticut Street in the city's Potrero Hill neighborhood.
The suspected squatter was outside the unit as officers were knocking on the door, then kicked open the door, allowing the dog to charge at the officers, police said.
An officer was backed against a wall and fell to the ground as the dog lunged at him, prompting him to shoot and kill the dog. The suspect was then placed under arrest on suspicion of aggravated assault on a police officer and trespassing, according to police.