The president of a Wyoming animal shelter was suspended for 60 days for his controversial decision to pepper spray a pit bull puppy a day before it was euthanized.
The Board of Directors made their decision during an emergency meeting Monday and Bob Fecht’s unpaid suspension will go into effect on Friday. In a statement issued to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, the Board said Fecht, upon his return, will be required to provide “an acceptable plan of action to restore the trust of the Shelter community in his abilities as the President and CEO.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Cheyenne Animal Shelter came under fire for a September 5 incident involving an 8-month-old, 70-pound pit bull named Tanner. The dog was pepper sprayed a day after he reportedly attacked a volunteer.
In an email sent to board members, Community Cat Program Coordinator Jay Klapel accused Fecht of ordering animal control officers to take Tanner and another dog to the back of the facility. The second dog was brought out to agitate Tanner, she wrote.
According to the Tribune Eagle, Klapel claimed Fecht told employees, “I better not catch anyone with cell phones out or recording this.”
Once Tanner was agitated, Fecht allegedly offered the volunteer the opportunity to pepper spray the dog but she refused, leading an animal control officer to do it.
Kevin Brueck, an animal care employee who resigned following the incident, told ABC 7 Chicago that Tanner appeared “confused” and had blood coming from his mouth. Brueck also told the Tribune Eagle that getting bitten is common in their line of work.
The animal center president has not only admitted to ordering the pepper spraying but has defended his decision. Fecht told KGWN that the pepper spraying was a “demonstration” meant to show staff how to handle an aggressive animal.
Adding to the controversy is the fact that the Board is backing Fecht. Before handing down the suspension, Shelter Board President Chloe Illoway told the local newspaper that they would not be firing Fecht for what she believes was him protecting his employees.
The Board has stepped back on some of Illoway’s comments in a statement issued to KGWN. It reads:
“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.”
[Featured image: Featured Image: WLS video screengrab]