Charlie the pit bull will live, just not with his former owner.
San Francisco officials had sentenced the American Staffordshire terrier pit bull to be euthanized after an unprovoked attack on a U.S. Park Police horse the dog chased for almost 2 miles through the Presidio in August, biting it 10 times.
But after a battle in court and online by owner David Gizzarelli, San Francisco officials and Gizzarelli have agreed to a settlement. Gizzarelli will relinquish ownership in exchange for San Francisco Animal Care and Control not putting Charlie to death. Instead, the dog will be placed with “a qualified third-party rehabilitation center or sanctuary.”
As part of the deal, Gizzarelli agreed to have no direct or indirect contact with Charlie’s to-be-determined guardian. He will get quarterly updates on the dog. Gizzarelli also agreed to drop his lawsuit against the city.
City Attorney Dennis Herrera praised the settlement as “a fair and humane resolution that offers Charlie a chance at redemption while also protecting public safety.”
Gizzarelli pursued the case through three different state and federal courts and started an online petition that drew more than 113,000 signatories and raised an undisclosed amount of money. He could not be reached late Friday for comment.
“David made the really, really tough decision to concentrate on Charlie, not on his own rights,” said Gizzarelli’s attorney, John Mounier. “Even though David loses him, Charlie is going to live.”
That wasn’t going to be the case earlier, after Charlie, off-leash and without a collar at Crissy Field, attacked a horse named Stoney being ridden by Officer Eric Evans.
According to the findings from an Aug. 23 hearing, Charlie charged the horse, attempted to bite Evans on the leg, then bit the horse’s left front leg.
Evans was thrown from the horse and knocked unconscious, suffering a concussion and shoulder injury. Charlie then chased and attacked Stoney, leaving bite wounds and bleeding gashes on the horse’s legs, thighs and stomach.
A San Francisco Police Department review determined Charlie was a vicious and dangerous dog, and he was ordered euthanized.
John Coté is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org