CARLSBAD — A man walking his pack of Yorkshire terriers off the leash on a Carlsbad trail will have to stand trial for allegedly assaulting another dog walker after the two got into an altercation about his leash-less canines, a Superior Court judge ruled Feb. 4.
Patrick Farner, 62, is charged with one count of assault with a deadly weapon with the allegation that he caused great bodily injury. The charge stems from an incident last September in Hosp Grove Park.
Prosecutors allege Farner instigated the attack and then swung his 6-foot walking stick at Christopher Tripp.
Farner pleaded not guilty to the assault. If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison, Deputy District Attorney Aimee McLeod said outside the courtroom.
Tripp, 39, testified Farner’s pack of 10 “Yorkies” charged him as he walked his boxer puppy on a trail in the park. As he told Farner to put a leash on his animals, Tripp testified, “He said he was going to teach me a lesson — Marine Corps-style.”’
As the two men began to fight, Tripp said they slipped and rolled down a hill. He said he suffered a 10- to 12-inch laceration on his leg that required stitches.
Carlsbad police Officer Trevor Winters testified when he arrived on the scene, a bloodstained Farner flagged him down. The officer said the defendant was bleeding from his head.
Winters testified that Farner told him that he only swung at Tripp because he felt threatened as the younger man came up the hill at him. While he admitted swinging at Trip, Farner said he wasn’t sure if he connected with him. Later, the officer testified Farner spontaneously blurted out at the hospital that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and had a flashback to the Vietnam War as Tripp came at him.
Judge Aaron Katz said his decision to bind Farner over was based in part on an independent witness’ testimony who also cited Farner as the aggressor.
Farner, who remains out of custody, is scheduled to be back in court March 4 for a readiness conference.