Garretson was employed as Rudi's caretaker in mid-March 1969. He had the task of taking care of Rudi's three dogs, Christopher and two poodles. All three dogs were in the guest house during the time the murders were taking place.
Christopher, Rudi Altobelli’s big Weimaraner, took his job as guard dog seriously. The morning after the murders, when police officers DeRosa, Whisenhut, and Burbridge came to the guest house, they saw William Garretson looking out a window. They told him to freeze. Christopher meanwhile was barking furiously. When they opened the door to the guest house, Christopher charged Whisenhut and chomped on his leg (according to Sanders p. 224, chomped on the end of a shotgun according to Bugliosi page 32). Whisenhut had to slam the door on the dog’s head and trap him there until Garretson called him off.
Four months earlier, on March 23, Charles Manson knocked on the door of the main house and Hatami, Sharon’s friend, answered the door. Manson was directed to the guest house where Rudi Altobelli was living. At that time he was not there. Manson returned in the evening and Rudi was home. According to Rudi, he was taking a shower when Christopher started barking and alerted him that someone was at the door. The dog had a certain kind of people bark when people approached. Putting on a robe, Rudi opened the door. Manson tried to introduce himself, but Rudi said “I know who you are, Charlie.” Manson asked if he knew where Terry Melcher was living. Rudi said Melcher moved to Malibu.
Manson must have seen the Weimaraner and witnessed his aggressive tendencies. Four months later, on August 8, he surely knew that Christopher was a factor to be reckoned with, if his Helter Skelter plan was to succeed. I am suggesting that on March 23, Manson also met Garretson as well as Altobelli and received some kind of assurance that the three dogs would be kept confined in the guest house and not cause trouble while the murders were taking place.