Dog-Stabbing Case Gets Complicated

dog_knife.jpg
Suddenly, much less funny...
The 33-year-old man witnesses claim stabbed a dog at Fort Funston will likely be arrested this week, according to park ranger George Durgerian. "We know who the man is and he's requested an attorney," he says. "It's pending -- we believe an arrest is happening this week."

So, that much is straightforward. But other elements of this case are mired in the wording of a complex city ordinance -- and jurisdictional issues stemming from where the alleged stabber lives, and where he was when he did his alleged stabbing.

The professional dog-walker who owns victimized pooch Lenny claims the question she asked purportedly triggering the attack was whether the alleged knife man's male pit bull was neutered.

Apart from the fact that dogs behave differently around neutered or intact animals, a San Francisco ordinance forbids non-neutered pit bulls.

This law, however, is complicated enough to induce fond memories of doing one's taxes. It's lengthy preamble, for one, defines just what a pit bull is. But even if "Denali" the pit bull is intact, his owner may not have been violating the law. Durgerian notes that, due to the furor surrounding this case, they are not releasing the identity of the alleged attacker -- and won't even disclose his home city. So if the alleged attacker lives in, say Daly City, and walks his dogs daily in San Francisco parks -- he's not violating the law.

San Francisco's ordinance only applies to pit bulls that have been present in the county for 30 consecutive days. Captain Vicky Guldbech of the city's department of Animal Care and Control says it's frequent for un-neutered pit bull owners stopped in the city to live just outside city limits -- or present ID proclaiming they do. Sergeant Bill Herndon, the just-retired former head of the city's vicious and dangerous animals unit, added that a pit bull's ownership can magically change hands every 29 days, too.

Further complicating matters, however, is the fact that Fort Funston is federal land -- and there's no federal law against not neutering your pit bull.

So, if and when an arrest occurs, it'll come for the "stabbing a dog" rap, not the "not neutering your pit bull" charge.

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