Example: [Collected via e-mail, January 2012]
Origins: We first encountered this photograph of two young men smiling and flipping off the camera while cruelly holding a puppy suspended by a wire around its neck when it exploded across the Internet in October 2010. This photograph has continued to circulate widely ever since, usually accompanied by text entreating viewers to help identify the youths pictured and turn them in to authorities.
According to news reports from October 2010, this picture triggered an investigation in Malaysia after being spread via the Twitter account of an actress:
"We are looking into the report filed by several animal lovers regarding a dog being abused in a photo on an Internet website," a Malaysian police official, who declined to be identified, said.
"Investigations are being carried out but we cannot release any other details so far," he added.
Malaysian Animal Rights Society president N Surendren said he and five other civil society groups filed a police report over the photograph, which he said appeared on the Twitter page of a popular Malaysian actress.
"The photo on Twitter shows two men in the process of hanging a small black and white puppy and both men are showing an obscene gesture while posing with the puppy, which is hanging by its neck," he said.
"It is quite outrageous because the fact that they allowed the photo to be taken meant they felt they could get away with it and the police wouldn't take action," he added.
Surendran said the photograph came to the society's attention when it was mailed to them from a person who had seen it on the actress' Twitter account.
Enraged by the photo spread widely via email, Malaysian Animal Rights Society president N. Surendran said he had lodged a report at the Brickfields police station.
He described it as one of the worst cases of animal abuse he had ever seen in Malaysia.
The photo, which has been posted on several blogs and social networking sites, showed two individuals gesturing with an obscene one-finger salute while one was holding a hanged puppy.
Expressing hope the culprits are caught quickly, Surendran said: "How anyone can do this to a puppy which can't defend itself is beyond me. These two are criminals and mentally unstable. I hope the police will throw the book at them so they can be made an example of."
Surendran said he might organise a public gathering to push for results.
"It might be too late for that puppy. But it will send out a message to deter crazed individuals from taking part in such torture.
"This sort of behaviour is bad for the country's image and will get worse if the authorities let it slide."
Surendran said his lawyer friend, Sasha Lyna Abdul Latif, forwarded the picture to him after she stumbled upon it through the Twitter social networking site.
"I found the pictures when Lisa Surihani re-tweeted it on her Twitter account," Sasha said.
Actress Lisa Surihani told The Malay Mail she re-tweeted the photo on her account but did not know the persons in the picture.
"My intentions were to highlight the cruelty towards animals portrayed by the two individuals. I am strongly against animal cruelty."
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Selangor said they were doing their best to uncover the identity of the individuals in the photo.
"It is not easy as it came from an online source. We are doing what we can and hope the public will be patient."
Additionally, the hanging puppy photo was posted to a Portuguese-language blog back in October 2008, which means it well antedates the exploits of the Tepic teenagers responsible for the "Muerte de Callejerito" images.
Some viewers have maintained that the original hanging puppy photo was digitally manipulated or staged, but it was posted to the Internet along with other pictures showing a dead, mutilated puppy of similar appearance, so there appears to be little doubt about the fate of the poor young dog.
For now the details of this photograph remain a mystery to us: When this picture was taken, where it was taken, the identities of the two young men shown in the photo, and whether they were ever caught and punished are all unknown. Given that the case is now nearly four years old (or more), it seems unlikely at this remove that the culprits will be identified and punished if that has not already happened.
Last updated: 5 March 2014
Hariri, Syamim. "Puppy Torture Photo Brings Out Animal Lovers' Anger." The Malay Mail. 25 October 2010. Kumar, M. "Outrage Over Picture of Two Youths Torturing Pup." The [Malaysia] Star. 17 October 2010. Zachariah, Elizabeth. "Anger Over Puppy Abuse Photo." The New Straits Times. 17 October 2010. [South Africa] Independent Online. "Puppy Torture Pics on Twitter Probed." 17 October 2010.