Clarification on Charlie, the subject of Vicious and Dangerous Dog Hearing

Facebook comments suggest confusion about provisions of City law, role of various City departments

SAN FRANCISCO (Dec. 10, 2012) — In response to a number of comments recently posted on the City Attorney’s Facebook page about “Charlie,” a pitbull owned by David Gizzarelli that attacked and injured a police officer and police horse last July, City Attorney Communications Director Matt Dorsey issued the following points to interested parties to address apparent confusion about City ordinances and the roles of various City departments:

  • The City Attorney’s Office is defending litigation Mr. Gizzarelli filed against the City and County of San Francisco consistent with its non-discretionary duty under the City Charter.
  • Charlie was adjudged “Vicious and Dangerous” under a public hearing process codified in Section 42.3 of the San Francisco Health Code, which provides at subsection (iv) that “[t]he decision of the hearing officer is final.”
  • Neither the City Attorney nor anyone in the City Attorney’s Office served as a Hearing Officer in the aforementioned Vicious and Dangerous Dog Hearing.
  • The Hearing Officer serves under the San Francisco Police Department.
  • Neither the City Attorney nor anyone in the City Attorney’s Office holds discretion with respect to the dog’s fate, or the Hearing Officer’s decision.
  • The San Francisco Department of Animal Care and Control has established an information line at (415) 554-9214 for individuals wishing to be express their opinions on the matter. ACC encourages comments in writing, either by email at, or by mail to the ACC Shelter at 1200 15th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103.
  • Individuals wishing to petition the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to amend City policies governing vicious and dangerous dogs are urged to access their district Supervisor’s contact information on the Board’s website at

Related Documents:

PDF icon PDF of the statement and case records on Gizzarelli lawsuit, vicious dog hearing (Dec. 10, 2012)