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Owner Battles Dog Death Sentence After SF Crissy Field Horse Attack

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) - The owner of a dog that chased and attacked a United States Park Police horse at San Francisco's Crissy Field appears to have won a partial victory in his fight against an order to put the dog down.

David Gizzarelli, owner of a American Staffordshire terrier named Charlie, has been battling the order by the city's Animal Care and Control to euthanize the dog for nearly a month. SFist reports that officials have now made an offer to Gizzarelli to place Charlie another person's home for the time being. The dog has been in the city's custody since an August 6th incident in the West Bluff area of the park.

According to National Park Service spokesman Howard Levitt, the officer had asked the dog's owner to take control of Charlie prior to the incident but he failed to do so.

"The dog then paid its attention to the police force and lunged at the horse, biting the stomach and then locking on to the rear leg. The horse fell and the U.S. Park Police officer was thrown to the ground at that point," he said.

The horse was eventually able to escape and run to the police stable but the dog gave chase. The attack ended when the horse kicked Charlie and sent him running only to be captured by another officer at the scene.

Gizzarelli has argued that horses should not have been patrolling so close to the off-leash area, and that the incident could have involved any breed.

Thousands have joined an online petition to save the dog, which was 18-months-old at the time of the attack.

The police horse has been taken off active duty, but is expected to make a full recovery.

Editor's Note: Previous reports referred to the dog in question as a pit bull terrier. Its owner calls it an American Staffordshire terrier. The term 'pit bull' is often applied to American Staffordshire terriers.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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