'Felony Jack' avoids death penalty after charging San Francisco officer

SAN FRANCISCO -- A pit bull that charged at an officer in San Francisco faced the death penalty on Thursday at a hearing in City Hall. The dog was afforded a full trial with his owner there and the officer who shot and wounded him.

His name is Felony Jack and he was on trial for his life.

On July 27, the 3.5-year-old pit bull charged at Officer Gary Kunaboot at Fulton and Hyde streets.

"The eyes were locked on me. It started growling. It had a snarl and its teeth were out," Kunaboot recalled.

Kunaboot says it happened when he wanted to talk with the dog's owner, whom he says had drug paraphernalia.

It happened quickly. In a video, just behind a white bus, Felony Jack can be seen charging at the cop. The officer then fired three shots.

The dog turned and dashed off towards his owner.

The owner grabbed Felony Jack's leash, trying to control him. A shot hit the dog in the ear.

He was treated and taken to Animal Control.

The dog hearing on Thursday was Felony Jack's day in court. He wasn't there physically but his owner, Jonathan Reed, and his supporters were.

Reed pleaded for his dog's life.

"I don't remember him growling. And if he snarled, showed his teeth like that, it's the first time he's ever done that in any situation," he said.

Also testifying was another dog owner who said Reed was mean to Felony Jack. "He has hit him. I have seen him hit him before when he disobeyed," Shannon said.

Another witness disputed that. "He's never used his fist. He's not a physically violent person," Sheree Guthrie said.

Reed told the hearing officer he should never have let Felony Jack run wild, even though he did have a leash around his neck.

"I didn't have a hold of it. I should have. None of this would have happened," he admitted.

He promised from now on to control his dog in public if he could have his dog back.

The hearing officer accepted his word and decided to let Felony Jack go home, warning he's now got a real felony on his rap sheet. null
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