The owner of the out-of-control dog that lunged for a $100,000 horse in a popular Sydney park has been identified as the maître d’ of popular reality TV show First Dates.
It comes after a 45-second video showed a white Australian Bulldog, Supi, attempt to attack a horse at the Centennial Parklands in the city’s east.
The incident occurred on Saturday in a designated on-leash area of the park, with reports the owner attempted to flee the scene after the event.
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As revealed by the Daily Mail, Supi’s owner is Giacomo Franceschi.
Apart from his reality TV credentials, Mr Franceschi is also the owner and founder of boutique non-alcoholic drink brand Beesbucha and the bar manager of popular Sydney venue, Charlie Parker’s, which sits under Justin Hemmes’ Merivale empire.
Mr Franceschi told the publication he “took full responsibility” for his dog’s behaviour, which occurred during their first time at the park.
He said that Supi is a rescue dog and described her as an “incredible, calm, and friendly” pet.
“I never could have imagined it happening and of course, I have learnt a huge lesson the hard way,” he said.
“I will continue to be the best owner possible for Supi and I am so sorry to the owner of the horse and to the horse.
“I have spoken with the park rangers to express my sincere apologies and pay the $330 fine for not having Supi on the leash.”
Addressing the concerns that he left the park without giving his details to the horse’s owner, Mr Franceschi said his top priority was controlling his dog.
“Once I got control of Supi, I apologised to the horse rider, we helped him find his AirPods that were lost in the commotion and then removed Supi from the scene,” he said.
He claimed his “adrenaline was running high” and his first priority was to get Supi away from the scene.
On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Centennial Parklands told news.com.au the owner of the dog “has voluntarily met with Centennial Parklands management [on Tuesday]” and “has taken responsibility for the incident and has extended an apology to all involved, including the owners of the horse”.
“Centennial Parklands continues to encourage responsible dog ownership and safely sharing our spaces through public education including signage and information on our website,” she said.
In the aftermath of the event, the horse’s owner Ian Benson said he was glad the attack didn’t happen to “one of the young kids and their ponies that frequent the park”.
“As the owner of the horse involved in the dog incident on Saturday I just wanted to reach out and say thank you to the members of the public who stepped in to help,” he wrote on Facebook.
He also urged dog owners to follow the rules and keep their pets on a lead and off the horse track.
“Not only for your safety and the safety of your dog, our safety as riders/horse owners, but the safety of the general public.”