Pet Activists Call On Death Row Dog's Owner To Relinquish Custody

David Gizzarelli refuses to let go of doomed Charlie

By Chris Roberts
|  Monday, Jan 7, 2013  |  Updated 12:42 PM PDT
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World's Smallest Dog Born in NorCal

Courtesy of David Gizzarelli

Charlie, an American Staffordshire Terrier, whose fate is up in the air in San Francisco after he bit a horse.

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It is time for Charlie to move on. If only his owner would drop the leash.

Animal advocates are asking the owner of an American Staffordshire terrier slated for destruction due to its attack on a police horse to relinquish ownership of the dog, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

David Gizzarreli was walking Charlie, the 2-year old animal in question, at Crissy Field in August when Charlie attacked a U.S. Park Police horse.

A city commission has since recommended that Charlie be put down as a vicious animal. Gizzarelli has fought the decision and news of Charlie's fate has gone national.

But on Sunday, a legal counsel for The Lexus Project told radio reporters that Gizzarelli should surrender the dog.

"He is not a responsible owner," Richard Rosenthal said. "At no point has David taken responsibility [for the incident]."

Gizarreli unsuccessfully sued the police department to overturn the death sentence, and has since turned to federal court. There is a hearing on Friday.

In the meantime, advocates point out that Charlie's life could have been spared if Gizzarelli agreed to relinquish custody. The City Attorney offered a deal to send Charlie away to an animal sanctuary, but Gizzarelli refused.

Gizzerelli told NBC Bay Area on Monday that none of this is fair. "Charlie is not a vicious dog," he said. "And I'm a responsible owner. Charlie should be home."

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