Fannin Co. JP candidate pepper sprays service dogs while on campaign trail

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LEONARD, Tex. (KXII) -- The founders of a non-profit that trains service dogs in Fannin County is speaking out after a former constable -- now running for justice of the peace -- pepper sprayed two of their dogs while on the campaign trail.

Shoshana Tanner founded Topaz Canine Services and has been training service dogs for 10 years.

She said when she went to go get something from her car last Thursday morning, she didn't know Fannin County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace candidate Bob Clemons was at her back door, where she lives and trains the dogs.

"The dogs saw him and immediately ran up to greet him in a very friendly manner, all three yellow labs, wagging their tail," said Tanner.

But Clemons, a retired constable of 16 years who always carries pepper spray, said the dogs came at him.

"They were growling, showing their teeth and I feared for my life," said Clemons.

Tanner said two dogs were sprayed: one, Macy, a retired service dog and Nova, a service dog in training.

"She has devoted her life to giving me independence by helping me with hearing alerts because I'm profoundly deaf," said Tanner, referring to Macy.

"I didn't know they were service dogs, but it wouldn't have mattered. I didn't think service dogs were vicious," said Clemons.

In a report from the Fannin County Sheriff's office, Clemons stated one of the dogs was a pit bull, and "wasn't the service dog that they are claiming it was."

"This definitely is not politically motivated -- at all," Tanner said "This could've been anyone who came on to our property, but the fact that it was someone running for public office did kind of make it a little bit worse."

Clemons said he hopes this doesn't change voters' attitudes.

"I was protecting myself. I didn't have a choice," he said.

Tanner said her husband, who suffers from asthma, required medical attention after inhaling the pepper spray. She also said her dogs' service training will need to be reassessed due to the trauma they suffered.

"It breaks my heart because she has done so much for me, that whole time that she was working," said Tanner.

Tanner's husband filed a criminal trespass complaint against Clemons after the incident.

Clemons was informed, and said he won't go back on the Tanner's property.

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