Park ranger tases man walking dogs off-leash

MONTARA, Calif. — A park ranger used a stun gun on a Northern California man who was stopped for walking his two small dogs without a leash.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports Gary Hesterberg didn't have identification and gave a phony name when he was stopped Sunday afternoon.

He was walking two dogs off leash at Rancho Corral de Tierra, part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, located near Montara, a coastal town south of San Francisco.

A Park Service spokesman said the ranger, whose name is being withheld, used her stun gun on Hesterberg because he was leaving the scene despite orders to stay.

The Half Moon Bay Review quotes a witness who told of the escalating argument between the ranger and the dog-walker, whom he described as "defiant," daring the ranger as he began walking away, "Are you going to arrest me?"

John Barlett, a nearby resident, said the ranger then pulled out her Taser. "Next thing I heard was what I thought was a pistol shot," he said. "He let out a cry of agony as he fell on his back."

Long an area that allowed off-leash dog walking, Rancho Corral de Tierra last month became part of the National Park System, which requires all dogs to be on a leash.

The ranger was trying to educate residents of the rule, NPS spokesman Howard Levitt told the Chronicle.

San Mateo County sheriff's deputies arrested Hesterberg and he was booked on suspicion of failing to obey a lawful order, having dogs off-leash, and knowingly providing false ID.

The Park Service is investigating the incident, he said.