A call to the public for help in finding the alleged canine assailant resulted in two people coming forward to identify the man, according to a statement from U.S. Park Police spokesman George Durgerian.
The police are withholding the man’s name pending further investigation, but described the suspect as a 33-year-old white male. The suspect is not currently under arrest, the statement said.
The stabbing took place around 2:30 on Thursday afternoon in Fort Funston, a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area near Lake Merced. The woman who reported the stabbing to Park Police was walking her dog, Lenny, near the Sunset Trail when she saw the suspect approach her walking his own dog, Durgerian said.
The man’s dog, a white-faced brindled pit bull believed to be named “Denali,” and Lenny were assuming aggressive stances toward each other, so the woman asked the suspect if the pit bull was neutered, which it is not, police said.
The man responded to the question by suddenly stabbing Lenny four times with a knife and fleeing the park, police said. The attack left the dog with severe injuries that damaged many of his internal organs, including his spleen and at least one lung, Durgerian said.
Lenny underwent surgery at an emergency pet hospital and was last reported to be in recovery, Durgerian said. The initial hope that frequenters of the park who know other habitual dog walkers there would be able to identify the man proved to be well-founded with the positive identification Saturday.
Members of several San Francisco dog walking associations sprang into action after the unprovoked attack, contacting a multitude of local vets trying to locate the man through his pit bull and attempting to identify him through his supposed patronage at an Outer Sunset pet supply store.
Linda McKay, a member of the Fort Funston Dog Walkers Association, believed the suspect also walks his dog at other San Francisco parks, and made an effort to alert dog walkers in the city to be on-guard when they take their animals out.
“He’s not just a Fort Funston person, he goes to all the dog parks,” McKay said Saturday. “We understand he goes to Stern Grove, as well.”
Photo of Fort Funston dog meetup: Tails of a Spinning Dog