I've been known to flout a leash law or two (just ask my dog), but after reading this story I might just fall into line.
Gary Hesterberg was walking his two small dogs in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area when a National Park Service (NPS) ranger noticed that his dogs were not leashed—a violation of federal law. So Ranger Sally (her real name hasn't been released, but I think this one has a nice ring to it) leapt into action and asked Hesterberg for identification.
According to an NPS spokesperson, Hesterberg had no identification and allegedly provided a false name. Ranger Sally told Hesterberg to remain at the scene, but he began to walk away. At that point, Ranger Sally "pursued him a little bit and she did deploy her Taser," said the NPS spokesperson. "That did stop him."
Gee, you think?
Hesterberg was arrested on suspicion of failing to obey a lawful order, having dogs off-leash and knowingly providing false information.
Witness Michelle Babcock, who was walking two border collies with her husband, told the San Francisco Chronicle that Ranger Sally's actions seemed a tad excessive.
"It was really scary. I just felt so bad for him," she said, adding that Hesterberg repeatedly asked why he was being detained. "He just tried to walk away. She never gave him a reason. We were in disbelief. It didn't make any sense."
The area in which the incident took place has long been an off-leash area for dog walkers. That changed in December when it became part of the National Park system.
The NPS spokeswoman says Ranger Sally was just trying to educate Hesterberg about the new rule. I think he probably got the message, that is, once he regained control of his motor functions.
Do you think the ranger used excessive force? Or could there be more to this story?