SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — An employee at a Spokane Valley doggy daycare who is accused of mistreating an animal was fired "immediately," owner Lonnie Kelp told KREM on Wednesday.
Kelp spoke with KREM about allegations of abuse against Jeanne's Doggie Daycare following a viral video that showed an employee striking a dog on the head with what appears to be a leash.
He said that no one is kicking dogs.
"We're not kicking the dogs. If anybody says that I allow them to kick the dogs, they are totally wrong," Kelp.
When asked if he told employees to kick the dogs, Kelp said he told them shuffle toward the dogs to get them to move.
"No, No, just kick toward them," he said, "More or less shuffling, because when you have about 100 dogs come up to the door, how are you going to get them to move back."
KREM was able to find multiple reviews of the Spokane Valley business online, with some being negative and some being positive. The negative reviews claimed their dogs were injured or came home acting different.
Kelp said he doesn't know why reviewers were saying these things.
"If you went through my training class, you'd be like, 'This is nothing like the vice that people say he does'," he said. "Because, why would I do something different with my dog than I do in my class?"
As for concerns that he or his staff may treat dogs differently in private than in classes, Kelp said this isn't who he is, and that his customers feel the same.
"That's not who we've been for 18 years. That's not what 95 percent of our customers think about us," he said.
All of the increased attention on the business in light of the video has been hard on Kelp and his wife, who he said loves animals.
"It's really hard because my wife is probably one of the biggest animal lovers in the whole world," Kelp said.
Kelp confirmed an employee at the daycare had mistreated an animal, but said that employee was fired "immediately."
Kelp said the company plans to build a wall to sequester aggressive dogs in the future, adding that was what led up to the employee hitting the dog in the first place.
"He still had no right to hit the dog," Kelp said.
Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service is expected to check in with the company on Wednesday.
SCRAPS Animal Protection Officer John Durbin told KREM on Tuesday that the video circulating on social media was taken at business' Spokane Valley location on East Appleway Avenue.
Durbin said he confirmed with employees at the daycare’s downtown daycare office that the employee in the video has been fired.
Durbin said Tuesday that he had been investigating the daycare center all day. He could not confirm claims that the business has a history of animal abuse.
KREM has submitted a public records request for more details.
It’s unclear when the investigation will be complete or if any charges are expected.