Police say three shelter employees committed animal abuse after pepper spraying a dog

Posted at 11:48 AM, Sep 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-26 13:48:38-04

CHEYENNE, Wyo., – Cheyenne Police say three animal shelter employees committed animal abuse after “unnecessarily tormenting” a dog when it was pepper sprayed.

The Cheyenne Police Department recently concluded its investigation into the animal abuse case at the Cheyenne Animal Shelter. Police said officers didn’t receive reports of the incident until September 7, but the situation started on September 4.

According to police, a dog in the shelter’s care bit an employee on September 4. The dog was then pepper sprayed on September 5, before being euthanized on the 6th.

The reports were forwarded to the Cheyenne Police Department where the investigation was conducted, involving 10 interviews and combing through the facts of the incident. Based on the interviews and evidence collected, police said it was determined a violation of Wyoming state statute 6-3-203(a)(ii), cruelty to animals, did occur.

Police said 25-year-old Ryan Johnson held down the dog while 29-year-old Eric Smale sprayed the dog with pepper spray in the direction of 64-year-old Robert Fecht.  This determined that the three employees did commit animal abuse by “unnecessarily tormenting the dog” when it was pepper-sprayed, police said.

The pepper spray happened the day after the dog reportedly bit an employee, which means it did not pose a threat at the time. The dog was then euthanized the day after because it was surrendered to the shelter.

Police said the euthanization was in compliance with Wyoming law and no crime was committed. The probable cause found during the investigation has been forwarded to the Laramie County District Attorney’s Office for charges.

The animal abuse case remains under investigation.