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Ranger uses stun gun on man walking dogs off-leash

MONTARA, Calif. -- A man walking his dogs in a federal park overlooking the Pacific Ocean was hit with a stun gun and arrested by a park ranger who accused him of not tethering the animals, astonishing passers-by who said the reaction was excessive.

The ranger deployed the stun gun on Gary Hesterberg after he gave a false name and then tried to walk away from the encounter Sunday, the National Park Service said. Hesterberg was allegedly walking his dogs without leashes in violation of the rules of Rancho Corral de Tierra, which was recently incorporated into the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

A witness, Michelle Babcock, told the San Francisco Chronicle the ranger never gave Hesterberg an explanation as to why he was being detained and then hit him with the stun gun in the back.

"He just tried to walk away," Babcock said. "She never gave him a reason. ... It didn't make any sense."

Calls to the park service and a listing for Hesterberg were not immediately returned Tuesday. No one answered the door at Hesterberg's home in Montara, a coastal community in San Mateo County with about 3,000 residents.