A picture (above) of Dan Tillery and a dog he adopted, Sir Wiggleton, also known as Diggy, went viral on June 6 thanks to their matching smiles. But the Facebook fame that they brought to Waterford Township, Michigan, may ultimately tear them apart.
Local police came by Tillery’s home on June 9 to investigate if Diggy was a pit bull or a bulldog, noted The Detroit News.
There has been a local law against pit bulls and pit bull mixes for over 20 years; violators can be cited with a civil infraction and a fine of $500.
"They asked if he’s a friendly dog, I said he’s the friendliest dog," Tillery told WWJ radio in Detroit. "When they went to the gate the actually see him, he licked their face, was very kind. They said, we’re dog lovers, that’s cool, he seems like a good boy. Took some pictures of him."
However, about an hour later, Tillery got a call from the police.
"He said, you know, we don’t really need much more than I think he’s a pit, and that’s enough, so, he looks like a pit, I think he’s a pit, he’s got to go," Tillery recalled. "You have three days to have him out of your home."
Tillery and Detroit Dog Rescue insist that Diggy is not a pit bull and should stay with Tillery.
"Mr. Tillery, who earlier this week had registered and obtained a proper license from Waterford Township, explained [the dog] is an American bulldog and not a pit bull," Detroit Dog Rescue said in a statement, according to The Detroit News.
Waterford Township Police Lt. Todd Hasselbach told The Detroit News that Tillery needs to get a veterinarian to prove Diggy's breed.
"I’m looking at a picture of this dog and it looks like a pit to me. I’d write a ticket," Hasselbach said. "[Tillery] can fight it. We’ve issued tickets before for dogs that looked like a pit, and then [owners] have brought in papers later that shows that it’s not a pit. And we’ve dismissed the ticket."
Detroit Dog Rescue officials said their paperwork, Detroit Animal Control and the city’s veterinarian confirm that Diggy is an American bulldog.
"If he can show that it’s not [a pit bull], then it’ll be fine," Hasselbach countered. "He just has to keep those papers on him because his neighbors are gonna keep calling."
Detroit Dog Rescue's May 31 Facebook adoption posting stated: "Wiggleton is a 2 year old American bulldog/pit bull mix that loves the water and is just a big goofball."
Police said Tillery agreed to take the dog to another place by June 13, noted CBS Detroit.