Hazmat crews responded to a Bradenton animal clinic after workers complained of "respiratory discomfort" Sunday.
Bradenton Firefighters arrived at Desoto Animal Clinic on Manatee Avenue West around noon. The clinic is located near Santo Butler's home.
"A lot of sirens, a lot of commotion, all of the neighbors were trying to figure out what was going on," Butler said.
Bradenton Fire Battalion Chief Dan Harris tells Fox 13 Palmetto police were called to assist with two stray dogs.
The dogs were transported to Manatee County Animal services in Palmetto. Workers noticed signs of illness and transported the dogs to Desoto Animal Clinic for treatment.
"As they were treating the dogs, they started experiencing some respiratory discomfort and as a result called us due to the chemical exposure," said Harris of the fire/hazmat response."The reaction people were having with it and also a description of a marking on one of the dogs was very consistent with pepper spray."
Harris said the product has "not been 100% identified" but it is consistent with pepper spray. Additional testing would be needed for certainty.
We learned two Desoto animal clinic workers had been exposed to the dogs but are expected to be okay. One worker had to "self-decontaminate," taking a warm shower, using soap and water and putting on clean scrubs.
Six Manatee County Animal Service workers were also exposed to the dogs. Five signed releases declining treatment and transport to the hospital. The sixth worker was transported to a hospital for evaluation.
Battalion Chief Harris said hazmat crews removed two other animals receiving treatment at the clinic.
"They were probably 15 feet away from the exposed animals so they didn't have any direct contact, any immediate contact. They just happened to be in the same area," said Harris of a dog and cat. " As a precaution we wanted to go ahead and scrub them and make sure they were clean before they were given back to their owners."
Hazmat crews checked the air and used fans to ventilate the building. Clinic workers were allowed to return during the afternoon. Harris said the stray dogs were put down.
"Unfortunately these animals because of their health and they deteriorated so fast, they had to be euthanized," he told Fox 13.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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