After an 8-month-old pit bull named Tanner bit one of his employees, the president of a Wyoming animal shelter had the dog pepper-sprayed as a “training exercise.”
Now, Cheyenne Animal Shelter president Bob Fecht is suspended for 60 days, according to statements obtained by KGWN.
A statement from the Cheyenne Animal Shelter Board of Directors said the pit bull was considered “very dangerous” during its attack on a shelter employee on September 4, according to KGAB. Tanner had been abandoned at a vet and taken to the shelter on August 31.
Jay Klapel, a former program coordinator at the shelter, said that the dog was pepper-sprayed a day after biting the shelter employee, according to The Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Fecht cautioned workers in the break room not to record, Klapel said, then gave the worker who had been bit an opportunity to spray Tanner herself.
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Klapel said that worker refused, and then an animal control officer sprayed the dog, which began to cough up blood, according to The Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Tanner was euthanized the following day. But Chloe Illoway, president of the Cheyenne Animal Shelter Board, dismissed the information as from a “disgruntled employee.”
A statement from the animal board said the dog did not cough up blood — and “was immediately washed for several minutes with water” after the incident as a part of regular protocol, according to KGAB. The board voted Tuesday to suspend Fecht without pay for 60 days.
“After reviewing all of the facts of both incidents, the Board feels confident that the decision to use an animal for pepper spray training was not made with the intent to cause harm or inflict punishment on the animal,” the statement read, according to KGAB. “However, it also feels that the decision was rash and made without proper consideration of alternative training methods.”
In his own statement, as reported by The Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Fecht apologized for his actions but said that he was just trying to “protect our employees who are subjected to animals of questionable character every single day.”
But Rocky Case, a member of the Cheyenne City Council, said more must be done to restore trust in the animal shelter and its president, according to KGWN.
“The trust of the community, the trust of the animal shelter employees, the trust of many donors ... has certainly been lost at the beginning of this situation and eroded over the last two-and-half weeks,” he said on the TV broadcast.