HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Two Santee Cooper customers are outraged after they said a worker doing a routine meter check sprayed their dogs with something similar to pepper spray.
The only way those homeowners knew what happened was through surveillance video.
Surveillance video from WMBF Executive Producer Hunter Tresnicky’s home shows the Santee Cooper employee walking straight to the backyard and immediately spraying the barking dogs with spray.
The dogs can be seen rubbing their faces in the grass.
Tresnicky was home at the time of the incident, and when his dogs stopped barking, he went to see what was going on. He said he wasn’t aware of what happened until he pet his dogs and then rubbed his eyes.
“My eyes started to burn and I said, ‘Something’s not right here.’ Joe comes home and I say, ‘I wonder if he did something to them.’ And we go back and watch the surveillance video and you can see this guy walk up and spray them,” Tresnicky said.
Tresnicky said he wants to know why the utility employee didn’t knock on the door first and ask him to secure the dogs before spraying them.
“No attempt to see if anyone was home to see if anyone could handle the dogs,” Tresnicky said.
“I don’t know how someone just casually approaches your house and your yard and, without warning, decides to spray your pets,” Joe Johnson said. “My biggest question for Santee Cooper is, ‘What is their policy on this?’ I completely understand them carrying a spray to protect themselves but there should be a procedure in place.”
A Santee Cooper spokesperson said the employee should not have sprayed the dogs after viewing the video.
“We have called and apologized to the customer directly and plan to educate employees so something like this doesn’t happen in the future,” said Tracy Vreeland, with Santee Cooper. “While the spray is standard-issue in the industry, our workers should only use it if they feel in danger or harm’s way because of an animal.”
Vreeland added the spray has a temporary effect and is not harmful to animals.
WMBF reporter Erin Edwards followed up and asked if there are procedures in place for employees to use this spray. She is still waiting to hear back.