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Jackie Speier Concerned Over Tasing of Montara Dog Walker

In a letter to the superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreational Area, Speier said the use of a Taser did not appear warranted.

Congresswoman Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, today expressed her concern over the  in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area near Montara over the weekend.

In a letter to the superintendent of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area Frank Dean, Speier requested further information about the incident and said many people are concerned about what happened.

“Many of my constituents are understandably angered by what appears to be an excessive use of force by a park ranger,” Speier said in a statement.

“From the information I have to date, it does not appear that the use of a taser was warranted,” she said.

Speier requested information about training in Taser usage for park rangers, including the appropriate utilization and risks of Tasers.

She also asked how the public was informed about dog policy changes at Rancho Corral de Tierra which now require all dogs to be leashed.

Speier suggested the appointment of an independent investigator to evaluate whether park regulations were violated and excessive force was utilized in the incident.

According to a Montara resident who witnessed the confrontation in the Rancho Corral de Tierra open space area on Sunday afternoon, a female ranger had detained the dog owner for walking his two small dogs without a leash.

"The man she was citing had already leashed his dogs and provided her all his personal information," Michelle Babcock said in a statement.

"The park ranger was very rude and told him he could not leave until she heard from her base," she said.

According to Babcock, the dog owner repeatedly asked why he was being detained, and eventually told the ranger to cite him or he was going to walk away.

"He started to walk away and she told him that she would Tase him if he walked another step," she said.

The man turned and the ranger deployed her Taser, causing the man to fall to the ground, Babcock said.

Advocate groups for dog owners -- such as Montara Dog and DogPAC of San Francisco -- have asked the NPS to investigate the incident and cease ticketing dog walkers in Rancho Corral de Tierra.

Golden Gate National Recreation Area officials issued a statement Tuesday saying that they shared the public's concern and have initiated a review of the incident.

According to the statement, the incident began as a "routine educational contact" on the rules regarding dog walking but grew into a more serious situation when the dog walker provided false information to the ranger and refused the ranger's repeated orders to remain at the scene while his identity was confirmed.

The 3,800-acre property was transferred to the park service by the Peninsula Open Space Trust in December.

Bay City News Service contributed to this article.

Keith Edward Pankow February 02, 2012 at 05:18 AM
Wrong sir, incomplete! This is more than just lying and breaking laws.... maybe you need to live in a country like North Korea? Let me fill you in on your lack of thinking; Breaking the law, lying AND excessive use of force by a PUBLIC SERVANT are the issues here. Are you a sociopath? Nope, just another idiot who never got past thinking 101.
hutch February 02, 2012 at 05:26 AM
Wow, don't bust a blood vessel Keith. It's that kind of temper that got that dude zapped. I agree Mike,It sounds like the guy broke the law and was ignoring the Rangers order not to walk away. I don't see what the big deal is.
Keith Edward Pankow February 02, 2012 at 05:29 AM
You would be exactly right about the use of temper. However, shouldn't she try to cuff him first? and use the tazer only in defense of her safety and the safety of anyone else? Is what you're saying break the law and you get tazed? How many laws do you folks break every day? Think about what you're saying.
Keith Edward Pankow February 02, 2012 at 05:32 AM
And the big deal is that 515 people have died in the past 10 years from tazer guns. Statistically that's not a big number... but even one person is a pretty heavy weight if it's your life on the line.. or one of your loved ones? What would you say if your wife or kid got tazed and killed for breaking a law?
hutch February 02, 2012 at 05:36 AM
Moral of story, you don't want to get tazed, shot, beat-up? Follow an officers orders especially if they are warning you not to walk away or they're pulling the trigger. Simple.
Keith Edward Pankow February 02, 2012 at 05:41 AM
You should move to North Korea.. you'd like it there.
Keith Edward Pankow February 02, 2012 at 05:42 AM
outskies.. not worth talking to.
hutch February 02, 2012 at 05:57 AM
The Ranger told him he couldn't leave. She warned him she would taser him if he did. He did and she did.
Diet T February 02, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Hutch, believe me, you don't want to stir up the dog people here in Pacifica.
Brian Ginna February 02, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Do you honestly think she had anything to do with the contents of the letter or that she is actually "looking into this incident?" So naive. Her staff handles this kind of stuff. She probably could not tell you where it even happened.
Bhatman February 02, 2012 at 04:37 PM
keep an open mind and follow the science http://tchester.org/srp/lists/dogs.html
Alice Miller February 02, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I've learned a lot from these exchanges. In particular, I'm grateful to learn from Comrade "Keith Edward Pankow" that we can legitimately pick and choose which laws we find convenient to obey and not expect efforts at enforcement by peace officers. I'll remember that when I'm stopped by the Highway Patrol for running a red light or speeding, safe in the knowledge that while he's checking my ID, etc. I can just drive away and be done with it. Good to know. Liberated at last! Now I don't have to think about moving to Pyongyang!
John Negley February 02, 2012 at 05:20 PM
That is not science. It is a lot of conjecture, info on a specific locale, presumptions, and junk science. For example, he sites fleas and ticks as pest that dogs spread. Deer is the main reason the spread of ticks and fleas, and most dogs receive treatment to combat flea and ticks. Or Parvovirus (dog warts), which is spread by direct contact or digestion from an effected canine, which almost always is from dogs between 1-2 years old before their immune system is mature enough to combat. The chances of spreading to a wild dog species is insanely remote. Not to say there are not actual facts in there as well and dogs do have an impact, but we are talking about a much different location than that of the article provided. They are talking about a preserve location, not ex-ranch and military land. I have taken numerous environmental science and botany classes and have volunteered for habitat restoration for the mission blue butterfly on local ridges. The impact dogs have is minimal with responsible owners.
John Negley February 02, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Your example is a red herring. The reasons for traffic safety is much different than the mostly political reason for changing this space to on leash.
Alice Miller February 02, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Thanks for your reply, Mr. Negley. I wonder, though, about your belief regarding the "mostly political reason for changing this space to on leash." As I understand it, the area in which the incident occurred was originally private, in which case, dog walkers had no right to trespass on it. They did it anyway. Then it was owned by the Peninsula Open Space Trust, which required written permission for access. The dog walkers violated that, too. Finally, it became part of GGNRA, which actually liberalized access by the public to the area, though walking dogs requires their being on leash. And the dog walkers apparently feel it's OK to violate that too. But as my original comment stated, I'm grateful to learn that we can pick and choose which laws and regulations to observe and ignore, depending on how I feel about their validity. I really would rather not move to Pyongyang.
Diet T February 02, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Bhatman, sometimes you contribute such refreshing perspectives. Open minds on this issue seem very few and far between. John N., your last sentence kind of says it all, but the definition of responsible dog owner seems very nebulous, at least from what i gather from reading the comments by dog owners on The Patch.
John Negley February 02, 2012 at 05:59 PM
I say it is political due to the stance the the GGNRA director, Frank Dean, has taken. He has said that he will not have dogs in his parks, which is a personal stance taken without the balance of all parties involved. Dog walkers were far from the only people that "trespassed" on the land. Cyclists, hikers, runners, and yes people with dogs too, all have enjoyed that land for at least the past 15 years without issue. Everyone co-existed. Then the land changed hands and thus the GGNRA regulation applied without consideration of the local views of those that have and continue to enjoy it. 39% of households own at least one dog. Yet no consideration was given to over 1/3 of our population, I see a problem with that. Myself, I do not blindly follow laws without there being a good reason and everyone being involved in the decision process. We live in a democracy. It was the only space to take dogs off leash in our local area. Now there is only Funston (a bit of a drive) in all of the GGNRA and Peninsula. No other open space is set aside for off leash dogs and many are no dogs allowed at all. That is not a balance for everyone's enjoyment in the recreation area. That all being said, I do believe that dog owners should show some more responsibility than they currently do in regard to cleaning up after their pet. I pick up others mess practically daily.
John Negley February 02, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Diet T - understood, there are bad apples in every group. I try to lead by example and have yelled at people when they do not pick up their dogs mess. I am also an avid Mtn Biker, having been sponsored and raced for a number of years. There are bad apples in that group with illegal trail building on Montara and general lack of consideration of others. Yet the attitude is quite substantially different toward that community. We all need to learn to co-exist better.
Bhatman February 02, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Mr. Nagley I have no scientific expertise in this area but, since you claim a science background, I will take my own advice and keep an open mind! Given your expertise, please provide links to the literature that supports your claim that "The impact dogs have is minimal with responsible owners" that would show this is not opinion or conjecture. I looked, but all I could find was this, is this science? http://www.nps.gov/goga/parkmgmt/upload/Lenth-et-al-Effects-of-Dogs-on-Wildlife-Communities.pdf
Bhatman February 02, 2012 at 06:30 PM
"...Myself, I do not blindly follow laws without there being a good reason and everyone being involved in the decision process. We live in a democracy." How do you think those laws came into existence? Bit of a disconnect here.
ted edwards February 02, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Bhatman-Bruce, this issue is not about dog wear and tear on the environment. This is about excessive force. I notice you are nowhere to be heard on the request by Rep. Speier for an investigation about NPS protocol for using tasers and whether NPS could have avoided conflict with proper outreach. Just fascinating how everyone discounts that a person who was not armed and not threatening the ranger or others got shot in the back with a taser gun. Any seasoned law enforcement should be trained to de-escalate issues during "educational" outreach. Go read the story on this Ranger's past behavior.
John Negley February 02, 2012 at 06:54 PM
A responsible owner does not let their pet chase wildlife. Picks up their mess. Does not let them dig. My dog either stays on trail or within a few feet of it. I clean up her mess and do not let her dig other than on beach in the surf zone. I did not read this study thoroughly, just scanned it, but dogs did have an impact of deer and small animal populations within a short distance of the trail. I know that scent impacts populations, though in the case of deer, in this area, they have become rather accustomed to the environment and from my experience have shown little fear of man or dog, they are far from an endangered species. The same with rabbit, I can not tell you how many rabbits I have seen on the trail in Mori Point. As I have stated several times, I am all for balance. There are places like preserves, in which dogs should not be allowed at all. Then there are recreation areas which should allow a wide range of use. It is the making of blanket rules without consideration of all that I am not for. There is places like Sweeney Ridge, which has been so greatly impacted by military use that dogs should be allowed to roam. Then there is San Pedro park, which is home to an endangered trout and no dogs should be allowed.
John Negley February 02, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Bhatman - you obviously do not know the stance, nor the decision process, that the director of the GGNRA has taken in regards to dogs. The disconnect is yours. Frank Dean, director of GGNRA, has said "I will not have dogs running loose in my park" and has taken a personal stance against dog owners. He is also trying to implement National Park rules into a Recreation Area, which historically have had far different rules. Everyone is not involved in the process currently. Sure, you could have gone to the public hearing, which was on a weekday, mid-day, to voice your concerns. Us working folk have a hard time with that one. But it was far from a vote and the absorption of this land into GGNRA following the same regulation as some other areas did not have a hearing that I am aware of.
hutch February 02, 2012 at 07:15 PM
"According to the statement, the dog walker provided false information to the ranger and refused the ranger's repeated orders to remain at the scene while his identity was confirmed." According to Babcock, the dog owner repeatedly asked why he was being detained, and eventually told the ranger to cite him or he was going to walk away. "He started to walk away and she told him that she would Tase him if he walked another step," Babcock said, adding that the man turned and the ranger deployed her Taser, causing the man to fall to the ground. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Tasered-Dog-Walker-Case-Gets-Federal-Attention-138565219.html
Alice Miller February 02, 2012 at 08:23 PM
I'm a little lost, Mr. Negley. Why is GGNRA unjustified on imposing its regulations on land it legally administers "without consideration of the local views of those that have and continue to enjoy." By that logic, shall I conclude I'm justified in coming over to your house, raiding your refrigerator and watching your TV, then relieving myself on your lawn. Inquiring minds want to know! The Super Bowl is coming up.
John Negley February 02, 2012 at 09:07 PM
Your analogy is ridiculous. 15+ years of open use by cyclists, hikers, and dog owners and they change the rules of use without any consideration of the people in the community and you have to ask what is wrong with that? What if a organization took over your local park and said no children are allowed to play in the playground without consulting the community surrounding the park? That is a much more accurate analogy.
Alice Miller February 02, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Thanks, Mr. Negley. I've learned that property rights are not absolute and enforced by law in our country as a fundamental role of government. They are apparently contingent on agreement with members of the local community who assert prerogatives based on a pattern of prior violation of those property rights. Sounds like socialism to me. Maybe we're more like North Korea than I imagined?
Dogbert February 02, 2012 at 11:44 PM
Alice Miller seems to believe that since the GGNRA is now the legal custodian of the property which makes up the GGNRA, it can pretty much do anything it wants. She seems to want to make this a property rights issue when in reality it is a contractual issue. Should Ms. Miller ever decide to work for the NPS/GGNRA, this attitude would afford her rocket-like ascent in her career path. Unfortunately for her and the GGNRA/NPS, the usage of the properties that make up the GGNRA is dictated by its enabling legislation and through its memorandums of understanding, promises and promulgations with the various entities that have deeded property to the GGNRA. Specifically, the GGNRA expressly agreed, as a condition to receive said properties, to respect the historical recreational usage of these properties, including off-leash dog walking. This promise was codified in the 1979 Pet Policy which set forth approximately one percent of the GGNRA for off-leash recreation and remains in force in large part today. Over the years the GGNRA has tested these agreements in Federal Court without success (see Fort Funston Dog Walkers v. Babbit; GGNRA/NPS v. Kieselhorst, Barley et al). Since the historical usage of Rancho Corral de Tierra included off-leash dog walking, the GGNRA is required to go through a formal rulemaking process to remove it (not my words, the court's). The off-leash dogwalker may have been very well within his rights.
Charles Dodgson March 24, 2012 at 07:39 PM
I suppose that all the people defending the park ranger also think that George Zimmerman was justified in killing Trayvon Martin.
hutch August 15, 2012 at 04:06 AM
That's yet to be decided Charles

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