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SF Golden Gate Park Bison Calf Dies After Chased By Loose Dog

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) - A bison calf at the buffalo paddock in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park has died of injuries after apparently being chased by a dog that had burrowed into the enclosure, according to authorities.

The San Francisco Zoo, which has responsibility for the care of the park's iconic bison in conjunction with the city's Rec and Park Department, said a small toy breed dog had burrowed under the paddock fence Wednesday morning.

The dog was running around a part of the enclosure where seven recently arrived young bison were being quarantined as they adapted to their new surroundings, zoo spokeswoman Lora LaMarca said.

The dog had under the care of a dog handler but was off-leash, as were four other dogs with the handler, according to LaMarca.  Park ranger found the handler trying to coax the dog from the enclosure.

KCBS' Mark Seelig Reports:

Zookeepers were then sent to examine the herd and found one bison calf with a laceration on its side. A veterinarian determined the young bison had three broken ribs that were then treated, LaMarca said.

She said the bison apparently ran into a fence in the enclosure because it was "really upset about the dog that had gotten in there."

The young animal was briefly taken out of the enclosure but was later returned to the herd, LaMarca said.

Later Wednesday afternoon, the bison calf was found dead. A necropsy was scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

KCBS' Mark Seelig Reports:

The dog handler was cited for having dogs off-leash in a designated on-leash area and for animal disturbance, according to the zoo statement.

The bison herd has been in Golden Gate Park since 1877 and at its current location since 1899.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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