Cheyenne police: Shelter employees abused puppy; case referred to DA

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The Cheyenne Police Department said it found probable cause that animal abuse occurred at an animal shelter, the department said on Facebook on Wednesday.

Last week, the CEO of the Cheyenne Animal Shelter was suspended for 60 days without pay for allegedly pepper-spraying a puppy on Sept. 5, the day after it bit an employee, according to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle.

The dog was euthanized the next day.

Police said it has since concluded its investigation into the shelter after detectives interviewed 10 CAS employees.

“CAS employees Robert Fecht, 64, Eric Smale, 29, and Ryan Johnson, 25, all of Cheyenne, did commit animal abuse by unnecessarily tormenting the dog when it was sprayed with pepper spray, a day after biting an employee,” police said.

Police said the pit bull mix was held by Johnson when Smale pepper-sprayed it, according to Fecht’s instructions.

“This event occurred a day after the dog bit an employee and at the time it was sprayed it did not pose a threat,” police said.

However, the dog being euthanized was done so in compliance with Wyoming law, and the employees did not commit a crime in euthanizing the animal, police said.

In finding probable cause in the incident, police have forwarded affidavits to the Laramie County District Attorney’s Office to recommend charges.

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