Fact Check

Hanging Dog Photo

Photograph seeks help in identifying youths pictured hanging a puppy.

Published Feb 2, 2012

Claim:   Photograph seeks help in identifying youths pictured hanging a puppy.


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, January 2012]

OMG, this made me SICK...ROTTEN low life pieces of SCUM~NO words can describe these monsters! SOMEONE SHOULD STRING THEM UP........an eye for an eye in this circumstance anyways..What do U think??????? The story is this: These two worms, id...iots, monsters in the picture, grab the helpless animals and simply kill them. They hang and stab the helpless animals. Please urgently circulate it on the Internet. Hopefully this message will get on the computer of someone who can identify them, recognizes their neighborhood or knows their school. Once they are identified please inform the Police or Animal Rights. If anyone thinks it's a waste of time to meet that request, wait until one of these crosses the path of their children or family.PLEASE send it to ALL yr friends...Thanx, thats if u have a heart!


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:

Malaysian police said they had launched an investigation after pictures of a puppy apparently being tortured appeared on micro-blogging website Twitter.

"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.

A number of news accounts from Malaysia in October 2010 indicated that officials in that country were trying to track down the source of the picture, but we found no follow-up reports stating that any progress had been made in the case:

More than a week has passed since the gruesome photo of a hanged puppy spread like wildfire online and animal rights groups are wondering when cops will get to the bottom of the matter.

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."

In June 2009, four teenagers from Tepic in the Mexican state of Nayarit took pictures and video of themselves torturing and killing a stray dog and posted the results
on the Internet under the title "Muerte de Callejerito" ("Death of little street dog"). Those youths were subsequently taken into custody and, according to

Humane Society International, they were expelled from school, required to participate in psychological treatment and community service, and pay a fine of 400 pesos. In August 2010, a Facebook group called "Dile Si Al Maltrato" ("Say Yes to Abuse") was created which featured graphic pictures of animal abuse culled from various sources, and that short-lived group included pictures taken by the Tepic teenagers as well as the photograph of the hanging puppy shown at the head of this page. That commonality has led many sources to link the hanging puppy photo to the Mexican youths responsible for the "Muerte de Callejerito" images, but there appears to be no real connection between the two, as none of the Mexican teenagers (shown in an April 2010 television interview) resembles either of the young men pictured in the hanging puppy photo.

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.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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