Men with dogs take fight to court |

Men with dogs take fight to court

William Ferchland, Tahoe Daily Tribune

A man accused of beating another man unconscious after their dogs battled each other on a residential street stood trial Monday.

Anthony Hackworth is charged with a misdemeanor assault. He fought Gayne Holz Jan. 20 after Holz’s pit bull attacked Hackworth’s Siberian husky.

Hackworth faces a maximum sentence of a year in county jail.

Hackworth and his wife were walking with their dog, Kayla, to Safeway for coffee about 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20. The couple had their 3-year-old son with them.

The family encountered Holz and his pit bull, Dobash, at the intersection of Ash Avenue and Long Valley. The two dogs sniffed each other before Dobash lunged and bit Kayla, going for her neck and jaw.

Hackworth kicked Dobash which stopped the mauling but enraged Holz. Holz pushed Hackworth and the two began to fight.

It is unclear whether Kayla was leashed. Reports stated Dobash was tethered to Holz.

The prosecution is attempting to prove Hackworth used excessive force by continuing to punch an unconscious and bloody Holz.

The key witness for the prosecution may have been Thomas Mapes, a motorist who witnessed the brawl and stopped about 25 feet away.

“(Hackworth) had immediately went down with (Holz) and continued striking him on the head,” Mapes testified. “(Holz) was pretty much motionless.”

He yelled in an attempt to stop the fight after he saw Hackworth punch the defeated Holz about four times, Mapes said.

Richard Specchio, an attorney representing Hackworth, says Holz grabbed his client as he fell to the ground and passed out drunk or became unconscious from alcohol, not from Hackworth’s fists.

Blood flowed from the back of Holz’s head while he lay curled in a fetal position, eyes closed, on the asphalt. When he came to, witnesses testified he reeked of alcohol and his speech was slurred.

Holz was taken to Barton Memorial Hospital for treatment. Hackworth’s injuries extended only to the redness on his hands, Officer Robert Hight testified.

Kayla, the bitten husky, was treated by Hackworth’s neighbor, a veterinary technician, for puncture wounds to her jaw and chest.

Dobash was in protective custody at El Dorado County Animal Control while Holz received medical attention at Barton.

The pit bull had no prior record of aggressive behavior, despite Holz’s warnings that Dobash would bite Kayla.

Trial resumes today at 9:30 a.m. at El Dorado County Superior Court.

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