An animal shelter in Wyoming faces outrage from animal rights advocates and dog lovers after using pepper spray on a Pit Bull-mix scheduled for euthanasia. Tanner, the eight-month-old, 70-pound dog, previously attacked one of the employees, causing injuries. The morning after the incident, shelter president Robert Fecht told employees to take Tanner out back for a training demonstration with pepper spray.
Fecht claims that the attack caused him to have safety concerns for his employees, and he wanted to train them to use pepper spray in case something like that happened again. He said to news outlet KGWN-TV, “I decided to do a controlled demonstration using the animal that everybody in this building was the most afraid of.”
One former employee, Kevin Brueck, was in the break room during the time of the incident. He claims that Fecht said employees “better not have any phones out” during the supposed training. Brueck saw Tanner being led back to his cage looking “messed up and confused.” When the story leaked, a petition started online to remove Fecht as president of the shelter. He has since been suspended without pay for 60 days.
Training employees to handle potentially dangerous animals is one thing, but there is no reason to train them by using pepper spray on a live dog. Tanner was young, untrained, and in a stressful situation, and he acted out because of that. He was certainly dangerous in that environment and probably could not have stayed at the shelter or interacted with humans without serious rehabilitation. However, he did not deserve to be tortured before being euthanized.
Fecht must have known this was the wrong way to go about training or he wouldn’t have been so worried about employees taking out their phones. This is certainly not the way to handle a dangerous dog, and this demonstration was not only cruel, but it could have put his employees in further danger by causing more confusion and pain to an animal known to attack humans.
What do you think? Was this training justified? Should Fecht step down as president? Let us know in the comments below.