A HUCKNALL family are angry that their pet dog was sprayed in the face by a man who called to check an electricity meter.
The 18-month-old Labrador, Louie, belongs to 15-year-old Samuel Hawthorne-Bales, who lives on Welbeck Estate.
They were at the home of Samuel’s grandparents, Laurence and Norma Bales, of Astral Grove, when a meter operative from SSE, the gas and electricity suppliers, visited the house.
Mr Bales said: “I answered the door to the man and Louie went past me. All he did was wag his tail and he just wanted a new playmate.
“I told the man that the dog would not cause him any harm. But he suddenly took out the spray and squirted it in Louie’s face.
“The dog was left clearly shocked and his eyes were running, although he has since recovered. The spray also left an awful smell for a time.”
Samuel’s mum, Christa Bales (46), said Louie was the friendliest dog imaginable and there was absolutely no need for the meter man to have used the spray. “We all feel really annoyed about it,” she added.
In a letter to the family, SSE’s deputy team manager, Tom Johnston, said: “The spray carried by our meter operatives has no lasting effects on a dog.
“It is used as a deterrent if the operative feels at risk. In this case, the operative did feel the dog was not under complete control.”
In a statement to the Dispatch, SSE said the spray was fully approved by the UK’s health and safety executive and it had been successfully used in this country for more than ten years.
“The spray forms a vapour cloud and the blend of natural oils deters the dog’s natural impulse to bite,” the statement went on. “The effect lasts for 10 to 20 minutes, after which the dog should suffer no side effects.”
The company stressed that their staff were trained to use the spray ‘only when absolutely necessary’.