MOLALLA, Ore. (KOIN) — A picture of a dog with its mouth taped shut caused a firestorm on social media over the weekend, but local police tell WAVY sister station KOIN 6 News there’s more to the story than meets the eye.
The uproar began when a woman posted a picture of her neighbor’s German Shepherd on one of Molalla’s community Facebook pages. It looks like the dog’s muzzle is taped shut, keeping the animal from drinking or panting.
“Completely out of line!” one woman wrote on Facebook. “Let’s duct tape the owners mouth shut and see how they like it!”
But when police arrived, they reportedly found the dog wearing a homemade muzzle fashioned from duct tape and cloth and strapped on behind its ears.
“The officer put his fingers in around the muzzle,” Molalla Police Chief Rod Lucich said. “[They] could get the fingers in so the dog could breathe and pant and drink.”
Chief Lucich says the officer didn’t believe it was a case of animal cruelty, but it was too late. The Facebook post sparked outrage within the community, and a small crowd gathered outside the dog owner’s home demanding police do something.
“We can’t take action and arrest somebody for something they didn’t do,” Chief Lucich said. “It was clearly not an abuse.”
The owner says the dog was wearing the makeshift muzzle as a way to train it to get along with chickens on the property and keep it from harassing them.
Now the woman who posted the picture on Facebook says she regrets it, but she’s glad people have decided to pitch in and help the family with its dog training issue.
“Social media can be a great tool,” Chief Lucich said. “But it can be a devastating tool.”