Park Police Officer Fires Warning to Unruly Canines by Horses

By Paul Duggan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Gunfire in Fort Dupont Park!

Not to worry, though. No one was wounded -- and no animals were harmed.

A U.S. Park Police spokesman said the incident, shortly after 1:30 p.m. Monday, resulted from the chaotic confluence of a careless dog walker, about 16 pooches menacing a pair of frightened police horses, and an officer who squeezed off a round or two into the ground to show the canines who was boss.

The officer, exercising the horses in a paddock at the Park Police stable in the Southeast Washington recreation area, was set upon by "a motley collection of dogs of various breeds," said the spokesman, Sgt. David Schlosser. As the dogs barked and snarled just beyond the paddock fence, he said, the officer began leading the horses to the safety of the stable. But the officer, whom Schlosser did not identify, feared that the dogs might squirm under the fence and follow.

So he fired one or two shots into the ground, Schlosser said. "At that point, the dogs skedaddled."

With the horses safely inside, Schlosser said, the officer found the canines a short distance away, gathered around a woman who turned out to be a dog walker without leashes.

Schlosser said the woman, whose name he did not release, was arrested on several outstanding warrants for traffic violations in Maryland and the District. He said Park Police are also writing up charges of letting dogs run loose in the park and operating a business in the park without a license. The incident will be reviewed by Park Police officials, which is standard practice when an officer discharges a weapon, Schlosser said.

He said the dogs were rounded up by animal control officers.

"It was quite a task," he said.

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