Walk dog off-leash, get zapped with Taser

This article, by Brian Sussman, was published February 4th, at Human Events

Walk dog off-leash, get zapped with Taser

MONTARA, CA—Last week, a federal park ranger armed with a Taser zapped a man walking his two small dogs in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.  His crime? Allowing one of the dogs to walk off-leash.

The Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA) is an enormous piece of real estate that stretches along the coast, north and south of San Francisco.  Despite occasional postings noting that dogs are to be leashed, many local residents walking and hiking through the more remote areas of the GGNRA regularly ignore the signs and allow their dogs to walk or run off-leash.  It’s been going on for years.  Such was the case with Gary Hesterberg, 50, who was stopped by a National Parks Service ranger and demanded to leash his 13-pound rat terrier, Jo-Jo.

According to the GGNRA’s after action report, the ranger informed Hesterberg about the ban on loose dogs and he immediately complied, clipping a lead to Jo-Jo’s collar. Eyewitnesses report Hesterberg was then told to wait while the ranger communicated back to base on her radio. He repeatedly asked why he was being detained and if he was being cited.  After a few minutes, Hesterberg is said to have announced he was leaving and began to walk away.  The ranger grabbed him by the arm and ordered him not to leave the scene of the crime.

“We felt like he wasn’t doing anything,” Michelle Babcock told the Half Moon Bay Review. “The ranger was very rude. You could tell [Hesterberg] wanted to be on his way, but she kept saying, ‘no.’”

When Hesterberg tried to leave a second time, and the ranger unholstered her Taser and warned him she would use it. He pleaded with her not to zap him, citing a heart condition. Upon turning his back to the ranger, apparently to walk away, he was hit with the Taser from behind.

Another witness, John Barlett, said, “He let out a cry of agony as he fell on his back.”

Hesterberg collapsed on the ground, and the ranger reportedly began shouting at him to turn over face down so she could handcuff him.

Paramedics were soon called to attend to Hesterberg.  Other than scrapes and bruises, he was seen fit to be immediately booked into county jail on three misdemeanor charges: walking his dog without a leash, giving false information, and failing to follow an officer’s orders.

GGNRA officials say they are reviewing the incident, but so far they see no problem with the use of the Taser.  They claim that Hesterberg was being uncooperative with the park ranger.
“It’s within the range of options available to a ranger, and it appears to us to fit within the permissible rules,” said Howard Levitt, GGNRA spokesman “At least twice, he attempted to leave the scene.”

This bizarre incident illustrates something that is occurring in many of our national parks that is very wrong: the parks are no longer ours.

The GGNRA was established in 1972 by President Richard Nixon, and began with a little island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay known as Alcatraz.  Ever since then, a variety of eco-orgs, together with Senator Diane Feinstein, have cobbled together some 30,000 acres of land, now overseen by the Department of Interior.  The acreage is forever off limits to development, and, with the federal oversight, recreational activities within GGNRA are severely constrained.  Recently a 2,310-page master plan was issued for the GGNRA, with hundreds of pages devoted to dog restrictions.  The masterminds who put this plan together don’t just want dogs on a leash, they want them off the property altogether.

You have to realize something: radical environmentalists perceive dogs as an invasive species.  The thinking goes, dogs have been bred by humans, and are a threat to the natural species in any region.  This whacked mindset has been articulated by many GGNRA bureaucrats, including superintendent Frank Dean who has indicated parks officials want to ensure native vegetation and protected species are not disturbed while remaining sensitive to the needs of dog owners.

However, the reckless fact is its not just unleashed dogs that are off limits, it’s humans too.  As we’re seeing in more and more of our national parklands, wander too far off the walking trail or hiking path and you’ll be confronted by an armed ranger demanding you leave the area immediately.  It’s not your safety that is of their concern.  It’s the Department of Interior assuring that the environmental stability of the space is not going to be displaced by you, because you’re a human—an invasive species.

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Brian Sussman

Reader Interactions


  1. Sierra says

    This article misrepresents the facts. The violator gave the officer a false name, and attempted to flee. Gee, why do people lie to cops about their identity? Because they have warrants for their arrest. In this case, Hesterberg was just being stupid. When this police officer discovered the man was lying about his identity, he attempted to flee. Lesson learned–lie to the cops about your identity and attempt to flee, you get tased. The stupid dog walker would have received a warning at most and have been on his way. Idiot.

    • Steve says

      It must be hard living with an EXTRA CHROMOSOME? The Law allows for him if he is not being arrested or NOT breaking the Law to not comply with an UNLAWFUL ORDER or ILLEGAL DETAINMENT as outlined by the US Constitution and many USC and CFR Laws! The Ranger Escalated Force Illegally even “IF” it was in Departmental Guidelines!

  2. Marcus says

    The bottom line is that the rangers should be going after poachers and smugglers and rescuing hikers, yet they are hunting law abiding citizens who are trying to enjoy the parks they pay for. Brian is trying trying to expose the fact that the park rangers seem to exclusively recruit from groups like the Earth Liberation Front, and that their policy is disgusting in its devaluation of human life.

    The point of this article is to expose the agenda of the envirofascists in our government, who see humans as foreign entities to be removed from this planet. The green weenies hire professionals to troll the internet looking for opportunities to cover up their intentions, while hypocritically accusing others, like Brian, of somehow lying. Take a shower and get back to your Occupy camp!

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