Local Coverage

Nov 13, 2010 10:48 PM

Man and Baby Sprayed With Pepper Spray in Park

Bell County, Ky. - A walk in the park turned into a nightmare for one family after a man says he and his 18-month-old son were pepper sprayed by a park ranger's wife.

Craig Sowby says while he was taking his son Ellis and his dog E.Q. for a walk in the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park early Wednesday morning, his leash got tangled and his son started running off. When Craig tried to catch him, the dog got away and walked up to a couple walking their dog. That's when he says they pepper sprayed his dog.

"The guy said their dog got scared because it was an unknown dog," says Sowby.

Sowby says it all escalated from there.

"I asked why they were spraying my dog and the man said it's because he's off his leash," says Sowby.

Sowby says the man was Gene Wesloh, an off-duty park ranger. He says his wife, Stephanie Wesloh kept pointing the mace at him and his son. At one point, Sowby says he hinted to the couple that he had a gun.

"I've never seen these people before. What kind of other weapons might they have?" wondered Sowby.

Sowby says he tried to grab the mace, and that's when he says Stephanie Wesloh sprayed him and his 18-month-old son in the face and sprayed them again as he ran to a nearby bathroom to try to wash it off.

The chief ranger says the Wesloh's felt threatened. The park filed a report, but so far has not filed any charges.

After a trip to the doctor, little Ellis is going to be alright. Craig Sowby says he just wants the Wesloh's to realize what they did was wrong.

LEX 18 tried to talk to the park ranger and his wife at their Middlesboro home Saturday night but they could not be reached for comment.

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