Florida authorities are investigating an alleged case of animal cruelty after their attention was directed to a picture on Facebook showing a dog tied-up with a jump rope.
The picture features a dog tied at the hips and hanging from a handlebar inside a car. Sitting next to the dog are two young girls, who their mother claims were simply playing animal rescue.
“My mom posted the kids playing animal rescue. They had seen it on TV,” the girls’ mother, Katie, said. “My mom posted it on Facebook and a whole lot of people took it the wrong way and it wasn’t meant to be like that.”
Katie claimed that the girls had been watching a show called Call of the Wildman, which airs on Animal Planet. Apparently, the girls were trying to reenact a rescue scene in which the show’s host pulls an animal out of a deep hole.
Although the girls’ mother claims the picture was harmless, tons of Facebook users were shocked and didn’t hesitate to report the activity to local Springfield police.
"Animal control started getting phone calls almost immediately somehow and using the name, we were somehow able to get an address,” Chief of the Springfield Police Department Phillip Thorne said. “We responded with them and she readily admitted that she had done it.”
After Retta Bozeman, the girls’ grandmother and poster of the picture, admitted to a misdemeanor charge of animal cruelty, the dog was taken into custody by animal control. Another dog on Bozeman’s property, though not included in the picture, was also taken into custody.
Katie voiced her concern over the removal of the dogs, since the small Chihuahua mix helps alert Katie’s daughter to seizures minutes before they happen. She also expressed concern for the safety of her family, since many Facebook users have issued death threats over the animal cruelty charge.
According to Thorne, some 500 threats have been made against the family’s health and safety.
Bozeman was issued a summons for a court date, when a judge will decide whether or not to return the dogs.