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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.

MadMonkey 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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