Cheyenne Animal Shelter CEO Bob Fecht has been suspended after community outrage when an eight-month-old shelter puppy was abused with pepper spray in what the Cheyenne Animal Shelter director called a “training exercise.”
In an emergency meeting held on Monday night, the Board of Directors suspended Fecht for 60 days without pay. He must also provide, within 30 days, an acceptable plan of action to restore the trust of the shelter with the community.
“The Board of the Cheyenne Animal Shelter unanimously adopted a policy that does not support the use of animals in pepper spray training exercises. The decision to use an animal, aggressive or not, in pepper spray training as a way to simulate a realistic scenario and demonstrate its effectiveness for employee safety is one that the Shelter Board feels was not justified and cannot support. 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. However, it also feels that the decision was rash and made without proper consideration of alternative training methods. Mr. Fecht, as the CAS CEO, is expected to demonstrate and ensure that all decisions he makes with regard to the organization uphold and protect the organization’s mission.”
The statement continued stating the Board of Directors will closely review and monitor the corrective action.
“The Shelter Board, beginning immediately, will be closely involved with reviewing and implementing corrective action. The Shelter Board understands that loss of trust has resulted from these incidents and will work tirelessly to do better by the organization and the community beginning with requesting a best practices audit and improving community input. The Shelter is already working to review and improve measures to ensure employee safety.
The work of the Cheyenne Animal Shelter is never ending. We appreciate your support and comments. Please feel free to contact us at ShelterBoard@caswy.org.”
Following the Board’s decision, Fecht released a statement apologizing for what happened and the heated controversy surrounding the abuse of the nine-month-old puppy. The shelter volunteer and foster coordinator Marissa Cox had been bitten by the pit bull mix named Tanner. Animal control officers were able to put the dog back into his kennel, and Cox was treated for her injuries.
The following day Fecht ordered officers to bring Tanner, along with another dog meant to agitate Tanner, to the back of the shelter telling all the employees that no one was to video what was to take place. Fecht ordered Cox to use pepper spray on Tanner once the dog was agitated. Cox refused, however another officer complied. Tanner was sprayed until he coughed up blood, and then the dog was hosed off with water, brought back to his kennel and euthanized 24 hours later.
According to Kgwn, Fecht stated he never meant to cause injury or damage to Tanner, nor was there any intent to tarnish the reputation of the shelter adding his primary goal was to protect employees.
“…upon reflection I realize that the decision I made was a personal and emotional reaction on my part and I sincerely regret not having considered alternatives before acting,” Fecht stated.
Rest in peace Tanner. The abuse you had to endure was heartbreaking.
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