Dog walkers at one of the Bay Area’s largest dog-friendly parks are on guard after a man walking his pit bull at Fort Funston stabbed another canine in San Francisco Thursday. At about 2:30 p.m. Thursday, a dog walker reported to the U.S. Park Police that her dog had been stabbed multiple times with a knife by a man walking another dog near the Sunset Trail, a police spokesman said. As the two dogs drew closer, they assumed an aggressive stance. Apparently, when the woman asked the man if his dog was neutered, he responded inexplicably by stabbing the woman’s dog four times. “It is just inexcusable that someone would respond that way,” U.S. Park Police spokesman George Durgerian said. “Unless you’re being attacked by the dog, there’s no justification.” The suspect is described as a white or Hispanic man in his 30s, standing approximately 5 feet 9 inches tall with short dark hair. An individual matching the suspect description was seen leaving the Fort Funston parking lot in a forest green SUV with tinted windows and a dog crate in its rear. Police and dog owners are hoping his canine companion, a white-faced brindled pit bull possibly named “Denali,” will give away his identity. The woman’s dog, Lenny, underwent surgery at an emergency pet hospital and was last reported to be recovering, although his injuries are severe, Durgerian said. The slashing injured many of Lenny’s internal organs, includes his spleen and at least one lung. Fort Funston, which is part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area operated under the authority of the National Park Service, is well-known as an off-leash dog park. The unprovoked attack has raised the hackles of regular park users, including Linda McKay of the Fort Funston Dog Walkers Association. McKay couldn’t recall a similar violent attack by a person against a dog, but said that the expansive natural park has seen its share of emotionally unstable characters. “We’ve had episodes where people bring their craziness and things happen,” McKay said. In 2006, a suicidal 59-year-old San Francisco man shot two hang
gliders, mortally wounding one, at the park before turning the gun on himself. McKay, who operates the organization’s website, has been working to spread the word of the attack and enlist the help of dog owners throughout the city to sniff out the identity of the attacker. “He’s not just a Fort Funston person, he goes to all the dog parks,” she said. “We understand he goes to Stern Grove, as well.” Members of another city dog walkers association say they are confident pet owners will identify the man. Nancy Stafford, co-director of the San Francisco Professional Dogwalkers Association, said another woman who witnessed the man fleeing the scene recognized the suspect as one of her regular customers at her Outer Sunset pet supply store. “I’d be faxing and e-mailing all the vets and asking if they have a client with a dog named Denali,” Stafford said. Although the pit bull was not at fault in this attack, Durgerian reminds dog owners that the park service requires all dogs to be under the control of their owner. “People like him give dogs owners a bad name,” Durgerian said. Please call the Fugitive Watch hot line at 1-800-9-CAUGHT (1-800-922-8448) or text us at 408-355-0999 or send a confidential email tip to [email protected], if you know the name of this man or have any information that can help solve this crime.