The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Gary Hesterberg was walking his two small dogs inside Rancho Corral de Tierra, which was recently incorporated into the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. For years, the park has been a refuge for owners who let their dogs run off-leash. However, all national parks have on-leash laws.
"It was really scary," said Michelle Babcock, who said she witnessed the incident as she and her husband were walking their own dogs. "I just felt so bad for him."
The unnamed park ranger reportedly confronted Hesterberg about his dogs. Hesterberg, who said he wasn't carrying his wallet at the time, allegedly gave a false name. The ranger asked him to remain at the scene but Hesterberg instead attempted to leave before he was shot in the back with the taser.
Babcock said Hesterberg had repeatedly asked the ranger why he was being detained. "He just tried to walk away. She never gave him a reason," Babcock said.
After Hesterberg left the scene, the ranger"pursued him a little bit and she did deploy her" electric-shock weapon, said parks service spokesman Howard Levitt.
"That did stop him."
Hesterberg was then arrested on suspicion of failing to obey a lawful order, having dogs off-leash and knowingly providing false information, Levitt said. He was later released.
"We were like in disbelief," she said. "It didn't make any sense," Babcock said.
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