Social media allows authorities track down woman accused of duct-taping dog's mouth

A picture of a dog with its snout muzzled with duct tape went viral over the weekend prompting calls and emails from people around the world requesting investigators to rescue the animal. This global outcry appears to have sped up the investigation. 

Bob Leverone/The Humane Society of the United States via AP
Lee County Animal Shelter worker, Stephaney Feeney, comforts Ace, a dog waiting to be rescued by The Humane Society of the United States in Bishopville, S.C., after he was found homeless because of strong storms from Hurricane Joaquin in the Midlands of S.C., on Oct. 6, 2015.

A woman who police say posted a picture of her dog with its mouth taped shut, has been charged with animal cruelty.

Katharine F. Lemansky whose Facebook page lists her name as Katie Brown, has been charged in Cary, North Carolina on a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals.

“Taping the dog’s muzzle shut was a terrible decision on Ms. Lemansky’s part, and charging her with animal cruelty under North Carolina law was the right thing to do,” Cary Police Captain Randall Rhyne said in a statement.

Lemansky, took a picture of her dog with silver duct tape taped all around her muzzle, and posted it on Facebook the day after Thanksgiving with the caption 'This is what happens when you don’t shut up!!!'

The Facebook post has since been taken down, but not before it was shared more than 300,000 times and prompting a global public outcry.

Lemansky made a follow-up comment through Facebook and said:  “Don't panic everyone it was only for a minute but hasn't barked since... POINT MADE!!!”

Tens of thousands of people as far away as Australia made phone calls to police and animal control departments to express concern for the dog, officials said.

The global outage showed how, at least on social media, justice is becoming globalized.

An unprecedented number of people called 911 in Cary that police had to assign seven overtime operators to handle the load, NBC affiliate WNCN of Raleigh reported.

On Monday evening, officials released a statement saying that Lemansky admitted that she duct taped the muzzle of her dog while she was staying in Cary, North Carolina.

The dog, named “Brown”, as well as another Lemansky owns, however, will not be taken away from her. Authorities said she will keep the pets as there were no signs of physical abuse to her dogs.

Police captain Randall Rhyne said:

“At the same time, it’s important to also note that our animal control officers who physically examined both Brown and her littermate found the dogs to be very well cared for, which is why we did not and could not remove them from the owner. The dogs are current on their shots, spayed, and microchipped. They are clean and well-nourished and appear to be comfortable in their surroundings."

Rhyne added, "And there were no signs of injury to (the dog's) muzzle, not even detectable hair loss.”

Lemansky faces a fine and up to 150 days in jail if convicted. She will next appear in court on December 14 in Wake County, North Carolina, according to officials from the town of Cary. 

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