Protesters Demand Cheyenne Animal Shelter Leader Resignation
Protesters gathered at the Cheyenne Animal Shelter Saturday morning to demand the resignation of shelter President and CEO Bob Fecht in the wake of allegations of animal abuse
According to numerous media reports, Fecht ordered animal control officers to pepper spray a pit bull mix named Tanner the day after the dog bit shelter employee Marissa Cox. Tanner was later euthanized.
Critics of the way the situation was handled say pepper spraying the dog a day after the fact was needlessly cruel and served no useful purpose.
Many have also questioned why a dog that allegedly had no track record of biting people suddenly became aggressive and whether shelter employees had proper training.
Fecht, for his part, has defended his actions.
"I decided to do a controlled demonstration using the animal that everybody in this building was the most afraid of," Fecht told KGWN-TV.
"I was very scared that if we did not do something we could have this happen and the next time somebody might actually be killed by the animal," added Fecht.
But protestors at Saturday's event aren't buying that explanation. Protest organizers Alyssa Cordova and Rebecca Medina said there are really two cases of abuse that need to be discussed--the abuse of Tanner and what they see as Fecht's abuse of power. 'Justice was not served for Tanner," Cordova said.
Medina said the only solution the situation is for Fecht and Chloe Illoway, President of the CAS Board of Directors, to both resign.
Cheyenne Mayor Marian Orr joined the crowd in calling for Fecht's resignation. The mayor said that while the city has no direct oversight of the shelter, it could at some point look at whether it wants to continue funding the facility. She said a long-term option might be to stop providing money for the shelter and to contract with another organization to provide the services currently handled by the CAS.
In the meantime, she urged people to continue contacting the CAS board demanding Fecht's removal.
City Councilman Rocky Case also at the event, said in a separate interview that Fecht should go, but echoed Mayor Orr's comments that the city has no direct control over the situation. Councilman Case, who is a non-voting member of the CAS board, said a board meeting has been scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday to discuss the situation.
Cheyenne Police Department spokesman Kevin Malatesta told Townsquare Media this week that the case has been turned over to a detective who is working to determine if a crime has occurred, and if so, whether there's probable cause to bring any charges.
(Feature Photo Courtesy of Tim Mandese, Video by Glenn Woods)