The co-owner of a Spokane Valley dog day care made infamous in a viral video released this week fired the employee who struck an animal and defended the actions of his other employees, who he said followed protocol.
“There’s no excuse to hit a dog,” said Lonny Kelp of Jeanne’s Doggie Daycare and Pet Hotel in a phone interview Wednesday. “But the kid (who struck a dog) was scared.”
The 15-second video, posted to Facebook on Tuesday, shows one male and one female employee in an outdoor pen at the business’ location on Sprague Avenue in Spokane Valley. The female worker tosses a toy for the large dog who is eventually struck, as the male employee who was dismissed leads another dog to the front of the business, Kelp said.
The dog leashed by the female employee lunges at the man and the smaller dog, which is not uncharacteristic behavior for the larger dog that was struck, Kelp said. The business had agreed to board the dog despite its behavioral issues.
That willingness to take on such animals is part of the business’s selling point, according to a profile of Kelp and his wife, Jeanne, that appeared in The Spokesman-Review in 2015.
“We are the only local one that will socialize aggressive dogs into the pack and get them playing with other dogs,” Lonny Kemp said in that interview.
In the video, the man then strikes the dog with what appears to be the handle of a leash, before continuing to lead the other dog to the front. The struck dog recoils for a moment after the impact.
The woman in the video notified her supervisor, who fired the male employee before the video had made it onto the internet.
“She did exactly what she should have,” Kelp said.
An investigator from SCRAPS spoke with Kelp on Tuesday after the video began spreading on social media, Kelp said. The business cooperated, but did not give the investigator the name and contact information of the employee who was fired, citing privacy laws.
SCRAPS has an open investigation into the incident, said Ashley Proszek, director of field operations for the agency, on Wednesday.
Kelp, who was out of town when the video began circulating, said the business had received texts and phone calls from as far away as New York and California. Kelp returned to the business Wednesday out of concerns for his employees’ safety, and Jeanne’s Doggie Daycare does not intend to remove any of the negative reviews that have been posted to their social media pages as a result of the video’s release.
“I didn’t do anything wrong. We didn’t do anything wrong,” Kelp said.
Kelp said he didn’t know who recorded the original video.
The business plans to construct a 5-foot wall to separate a play area for dogs that may need to be separated from other dogs and animals that are being brought to the front of the business for retrieval.
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