Ruff Treatment

A Facebook photo of a dog with its muzzle duct-taped shut has gone viral, prompting a police investigation.

Published Nov 29, 2015


[green-label]NEWS:[/green-label] In November 2015, a Facebook user going by the name of Katie Brown posted a photograph of a dog with its mouth duct-taped shut, along with the caption: “This is what happens when you dont shut up!!!”

The photo quickly went viral, getting shared hundreds of thousands of times within days, mostly by people horrified at the photograph. As Brown’s Facebook page listed her current residence as South Daytona, Florida, the city of South Daytona received so many calls and emails regarding the image that they put a statement up on their official page about it:

The South Daytona Police are aware of the disturbing Facebook posting and photo by Katie Brown regarding her treatment...

Posted by City of South Daytona on Friday, November 27, 2015

The statement was followed by several updates on the status of the investigation and possible whereabouts of Brown.

Authorities in the Connecticut cities of Avon and Torrington, where Brown apparently has family, also made official statements after a flood of calls and emails prompted police there to visit her family to investigate.  They, too, have asked the public to refrain from calling and emailing them further.

“We have notified Florida authorities,” said Avon's police chief.

Brown has not commented publicly, but a subsequent update on her Facebook page read:

Dont panic everyone it was only for a minute but hasnt barked since... POINT MADE!!!

"We have information to indicate that the dog is OK at this time,'' South Daytona officials said in a Facebook statement.  “Rest assured that a full investigation will be done and appropriate action will be taken.”

Brown has not publicly commented, but the photograph has now been taken down.

Brooke Binkowski is a former editor for Snopes.