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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.

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d wave February 02, 2012 at 12:18 AM
If this is really the case - that a park ranger assaulted someone who posed no physical threat to her merely because the dog walker didn't follow her instructions - she (the ranger) must be fired.
Valda Mort February 02, 2012 at 04:21 PM
Wow, what's next? Waterboarding for J-walkers?
skip February 02, 2012 at 05:32 PM
Seems like fault lies on both sides. for the dog owner to knowingly give false identity and repeatedly not following orders... From the article it's clear the dog owner had contempt for the leash rule/law and the authority trying to enforce it.
d wave February 02, 2012 at 06:58 PM
keep it in perspective. what's the big crime again? walking a dog off leash. right.
John Mason February 03, 2012 at 02:13 AM
Correct D Clark. When he put the leashes on without arguing that should have been the end of this story. Park Ranger power trip? She told him to stop and not take another step, so he stopped, turned to face her, and she zapped him for obeying! Kaching!!! Civil rights violation coming your way.

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