Shelter employee says dog abused with pepper spray in ‘training exercise’

In Cheyenne, Wyoming, a shelter employee contends a shelter dog was abused with pepper spray in what the Cheyenne Animal Shelter director has called a “training exercise.”

According to the Wyoming/Tribune Eagle, shelter volunteer and foster coordinator Marissa Cox had been bitten by an eight-month-old 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, the shelter president, Bob Fecht ordered officers to bring Tanner, and 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 he 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.

Jay Klapel, the community cat program coordinator, sent a detailed email to five shelter board members after gathering information about the troubling incident; calling what happened a “gross abuse of power,” and claiming it was clearly animal abuse.

The shelter released a report written by an animal control officer whose name was redacted. That person described Tanner as “viciously mauling” Marissa – a claim others deny. The report stated that pepper spray is safe and relatively harmless. The “training exercise” was to determine if the spray made the dog more or less aggressive; show the staff how to use pepper spray and build employee confidence when handling violent animals. The report did not mention no one was to video the situation nor was it noted another dog was brought outdoors with Tanner in order to agitate him.

Thus far, Cheyenne Animal Shelter Board President Chloe Illoway has stated the allegations are being investigated, however there has been no proof of animal abuse and Klapel was just a “disgruntled employee.”

As for Tanner, the very active puppy had spent weeks at the Avenues Pet Clinic with no major incidents before coming to the shelter and was not a “vicious dog.”

A Facebook page Justice for Tanner can be followed here. An investigation continues.

(Photos via Justice for Tanner Facebook)

Follow the latest animal news on the National Pet Rescue page.

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16 replies
  1. Barkley's Mom says:

    It sounds like this puppy wasn’t “vicious” until the shelter staff got a hold of him. What kind of treatment is this, to pepper spray a dog until it coughs up blood is NOT a “training” exercise! This whole staff needs to be investigated. So sorry Tanner, you didn’t deserve to die like this.

    Reply
  2. Cathleen Mason says:

    Horrific. Bob Fecht deserves to have his COWARDLY ASS FIRED for setting Tanner up to be pepper sprayed in the face after instructing “his” employees to not videotape the incident. Mr Fecht needs to kiss his retirement away as well. He then claims Tanner is a vicious dog and has him KILLED. What a lying, manipulative, piece of chicken shit. FIRE HIM WITHOUT BENEFITS. He clearly has no compassion for animals and no scruples at all. JUSTICE FOR TANNER!!!

    Reply
  3. Jan Barnes says:

    THIS WREAKS OF TORTURE, ABUSE AND INJUSTICE! IT MUST BE THOROUGHLY INVESTIGATED! WHOEVER MURDERED THIS DOG SHOULD BE FIRED, LOCKED UP AND, HOPEFULLY, BEATEN TO DEATH!

    Reply
  4. PAMELA D says:

    Sick POS and why was he euthanized because of some sorry ass low life subhuman who is mentally nuts. Wish you scumbags a horrific life.

    Reply
  5. Adrienne says:

    Tanner RIP. Those that you trusted betrayed you for their own selfish reasons and hope all the details come out from an investigation on this shelter and the crazy shelter director not only needs to be removed but put in jail for animal abuse.

    Reply
  6. Diana Rowell says:

    I pray the wrath of God finds Marissa Cox, Bob Fecht and the unnamed POS that RELENTLESSLY sprayed this dog with pepper spray, with being sprayed the SAME way followed with a BEATING that leave COX, FECHT and OTHER POS BLIND AND CRIPPLE for LIFE! Sick of this crap, sick of the lies by abusers, sick of the spineless law enforcement and judges who let these sub-human maggots go on to abuse, torture, maim, and MURDER again and again. Eye for an eye MF’s!

    Reply
    • Kat says:

      If you read the article more clearly, “Fecht ordered Cox to use pepper spray on Tanner once he was agitated. Cox refused, however another officer complied.” She is not to blame for that part but everyone else is. I agree that the 2 individuals, Fecht and another officer, should be sprayed with pepper spray until they cough up blood and then continue to spray them until they are no longer breathing. the other individuals need to be fired and not allowed to work around animals anywhere. The picture of Tanner is not one of an aggressive dog but of a timid and frightened dog! Rest in peace Tanner! You didn’t deserve to die!

      Reply
    • Michelle Dalton says:

      Dianna Rowell – why would you pray for the wrath of G-d to find Ms. Cox? Being the victim of a dog attack isn’t horrific enough, you want her to now suffer a beating that leaves her blind and crippled for life? WTF is wrong with you? You think an eye for an eye is justice, then I guess following your logic, the dog should have been forced down and be bitten numerous times instead. I can understand your anger and frustration with regard to the pepper spray incident, but blaming one of the victims is asinine.

      Reply
  7. Troy lynn Eckart says:

    This was a blatant act of sadistic animal torture/cruelty! Those involved need to be held accountable for their actions and the death of Tanner. The need to be fired, fined, and jailed! And if Pepper spray isn’t harmful let them be sprayed as much with the pepper spray as they sprayed on Tanner!!! Please send letters, emails, or call the following officials.
    Mayor Marian Orr, 2101 O’Neil Ave.
    Room 310, Cheyenne, WY 82001
    Phone: (307) 637-6300, Fax:(307) 637-6378 , Email: mayor@cheyennecity.org
    (note that the city contracts with the shelter and this is very much her responsibility to see that this case is investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the animal cruelty laws)
    and
    City Councilman (same street address – Room 115)
    Phone: 307-637-6357
    *Rocky Case, Email: rcase@cheyennecity.org
    Bryan Cook, Email: bcook@cheyennecity.org
    Richard Johnson, Email: rjohnson@cheyennecity.org
    Pete Laybourn
    Mike Luna, mluna@cheyennecity.org
    Dr. Mike Rinne, mrinne@cheyennecity.org
    Scott Roybal, sroybal@cheyennecity.org
    Dicky Shanor, dshanor@cheyennecity.org
    Jeff White, jwhite@cheyennecity.org

    Reply
  8. Ruby says:

    Bob Fecht, the shelter director who ordered Tanner to be pepper sprayed was forced to resign. I wish he had been charged with animal abuse so he could not work with animals anymore

    Reply

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