Sunday, December 23rd 2018, 11:07 pm
Two dog owners in El Reno claim animal control harmed their pets through the fence.
However, city officials have come to a different conclusion after an internal investigation.
It began Monday morning, when neighbor Jacquelyn Hood says she called El Reno Animal Control.
Hood says she saw her neighbor’s dog loose and thought animal control could help get the dog home safely.
“I saw a dog out and I was hoping he would never get out on the street,” Hood said.
The dog’s owners, Serenity Hicks and Scotty Williams were gone at the time, but own two dogs total.
“I got a phone call from Scotty saying that the dog catcher was at the house. The security cameras went off,” Hicks said.
When Hicks arrived home, she says she found a note from animal control reading in part, “your dogs got OC spray on them, they’re lucky that’s all they got.”
Hicks says her two dogs were behind the fence writhing in pain.
After treating the dogs, Hicks looked at her surveillance video of the incident.
“We saw the animal control vehicle pull through the alley, stop, get out and come in between the fence and the dog kennel and hold his pepper spray can up and the dogs immediately retreat from him after he apparently sprayed him,” Hicks said.
The City of El Reno says an internal investigation was conducted, and the animal control officer sprayed the dogs outside of the fence only.
However, Hood says this contradicts her original report that only one dog was loose, therefore in her opinion the dogs were sprayed inside the fence of the home.
“I made sure to tell him there was only one dog out instead of two dogs out,” Hood said.
Both Hood and Hicks say they want the truth revealed, and some sort of reparation.
“We're talking with people right now to see what we can do. I'm pretty upset with the city,” Hicks said.
The City of El Reno released the following statement:
“On 12/18/2018 Acting City Manager Matt White received a complaint from a pet owner along with a short video. The owner reported her two dogs were “pepper sprayed” while inside of their fenced yard in the 900 block of W. Woodson by an Animal Control Officer. Mr. White directed an internal investigation based on the complaint and initial video recording.
Internal Affairs Investigators were assigned to follow-up on the owner’s complaint. Investigators reviewed the supplied video recording as well as interviewed neighbors, witnesses, photographed the reported fence section as well as interviewed the Animal Control Officer.
The investigation determined that the animal control officer was dispatched to a report of two pit bull dogs out in the area of 900 W. Woodson on 12/17/2018. Further, the Animal Control Officer did not use pepper spray on the two dogs while inside of their fenced yard. The pepper spray was used by the Officer when the animals approached him in an aggressive manner while responding to the report of the animals running loose in the neighboring yards and street.
The video supplied by the owner appeared to support the owner’s report. Upon further review of the video with “still shots”, it was obvious the officer did display the “pepper spray can” at the two dogs while they were inside of the fence to keep them inside of the yard as he attempted to make contact with the owners. The video also showed the spray was not discharged as the spray safety mechanism was not disengaged. Additionally, the dye bonding agent of the pepper stray was not present on any of the fencing material where the alleged act occurred.
As a result of the investigation, no further action was taken with regard to the video. The Police Department is reviewing current policy and practice as well as exploring additional resource when dealing with similar calls for service.”
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