VIDEO: SC utility worker pepper sprays dogs in customer’s fenced in yard

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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF/CNN) — Two pet owners in South Carolina are upset after a utility worker sprayed their dogs with pepper spray.

A home security system caught the incident on tape.

The dog’s owners say they understand the worker’s desire to protect himself, however, it’s not clear from the tape that there was any actual danger.

(Full disclosure: pet owner Hunter Tresnicky is an executive producer at WMBF)

Lucy and Odis like to lounge in the backyard. They were outside when a Santee Cooper employee came to check the meter at WMBF employee Hunter Tresnicky’s house.

“I really didn’t think much of it when I heard them barking but what really caught my attention is they stop suddenly, and you can hear that in the video,” said Tresnicky.

That’s when the Santee Cooper employee sprayed them with Halt.

According to the product’s website, Halt is a repellent spray made from peppers.

Tresnicky says the dogs were acting strange for a while, but it wasn’t until later he found out what happened.

“Anyhow, I’m petting her and then I go and rub my eyes and my eyes start to burn — I’m like, I say, ‘Something’s not right here.’ Joe comes home and we’re talking about it — I’m like, ‘I wonder if he did something to them.’ And we go back and watch the surveillance video,” he said.

“I don’t know how someone just casually approaches your house and your yard and without warning decides to spray your pets,” said Joe, the other man who lives at the house.

What bothers them even more is that Tresnicky was home at the time this happened and could have secured the dogs, but the employee didn’t knock on the door.

“No attempt to see if anyone was home to see if anyone could handle the dogs,” said Tresnicky.

“My biggest question for Santee Cooper is what is their policy on this? I completely understand them carrying a spray to protect themselves if there’s a loose dog or if there is just something happens, I can understand you know carrying that, but there should be a policy in place,” said Joe.

Those questions were taken to Santee Cooper. They sent a statement, reading in part:

“Based on the video footage provided, it appears the employee should not have sprayed the dogs. We have called and apologized to the customer directly and plan to educate employees so something like this doesn’t happen in the future.”

WMBF followed up and asked if there were procedures in place for employees to use this spray. They did not respond.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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