SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A bison calf at the buffalo paddock in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park has died of injuries after apparently being chased by a dog that had burrowed into the enclosure, according to authorities.

The San Francisco Zoo, which has responsibility for the care of the park’s iconic bison in conjunction with the city’s Rec and Park Department, said a small toy breed dog had burrowed under the paddock fence Wednesday morning.

The dog was running around a part of the enclosure where seven recently arrived young bison were being quarantined as they adapted to their new surroundings, zoo spokeswoman Lora LaMarca said.

The dog had under the care of a dog handler but was off-leash, as were four other dogs with the handler, according to LaMarca.  Park ranger found the handler trying to coax the dog from the enclosure.

KCBS’ Mark Seelig Reports:

Zookeepers were then sent to examine the herd and found one bison calf with a laceration on its side. A veterinarian determined the young bison had three broken ribs that were then treated, LaMarca said.

She said the bison apparently ran into a fence in the enclosure because it was “really upset about the dog that had gotten in there.”

The young animal was briefly taken out of the enclosure but was later returned to the herd, LaMarca said.

Later Wednesday afternoon, the bison calf was found dead. A necropsy was scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

KCBS’ Mark Seelig Reports:

The dog handler was cited for having dogs off-leash in a designated on-leash area and for animal disturbance, according to the zoo statement.

The bison herd has been in Golden Gate Park since 1877 and at its current location since 1899.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (15)
  1. rs says:

    that’s a horrible thing to say. it was the responsibility of the handler to make sure the dog was on a leash. blame it on the person. the dog was just following its instincts. that person should be held responsible.

    1. cltaylor says:

      I believe everyone has said that thus far: its the responsibility of the person.
      PS: if a domesticated dog’s instinct is to bust three ribs on a bison the dog should be put down. Sorry. If it were your child’s three ribs you’d agree.

  2. Grover says:

    Dog walkers are a hazard EVERYWHERE. They ignore leash and scooper laws. Too many people have too many dogs. More stricter regulations are needed.

    1. dbe says:

      This dog owner was negligent. But fir you to say too many people have dogs is a rotten and mean hearted thing to say. Most dogs I know are kinder than people, and more loving.

  3. tn says:

    It probably wasn’t the first time his dogs he was responsible for, were off a leash. No more jobs for that dog-walker. Wonder how much he’ll have to pay in fines for the “stampede death?”

  4. johnny says:

    sounds like the fence was the biggest hazard. People thought they could fence off some animals to keep them safe and the animal thought it could run away but it ran and hit the fence…

  5. AJ says:

    As a dog owner I wish more people would abide by leash laws, you make it so much harder on the rest of us. Sorry that calf had to die because of someones lack of responsibilty.

  6. cltaylor says:

    I’m sick of dog owners thinking it’s EVER okay to take their dog of of it’s leash in public. This could have also been a story about an adult bison killing a dog. Dog owners need to OWN the responsibility for NOT allowing their animals to harm anyone or anything, and to be sure NOTHING harms their dogs. If you can’t do that Mr./Mrs. Dog Owner, don’t take your dog outside.

  7. Jay says:

    You didn’t get the whole story. It was determined that the dog scared the bison, which proceeded to cut itself on a fence while running away. The dog did not inflict the damage, it only scared it.

  8. John John G says:

    Prison term for leash law violations! Children, adults and now bisons are killed by those terrorists, who release dogs from leash. it is time to stop that.

  9. mt says:

    it sounds like the owner of the dog should be fined heavily and put in Jail to start setting examples.

  10. jp says:

    Too many dogs off leash in this city. The park by my house is a huge doggy toilet. You can sit on Patricia’s green any morning and just watch one dog after another take a dump. It’s gross. Tired of trying to get some sun and have lunch when someone’s dog jumps in my lap for a peice of my lunch. It’s not cute.

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