Last updated: August 14, 2012
First published: August 13, 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
Analysis by David White, Brett Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer
This photograph, which is currently generating a great deal of anger and furious debate, is currently circulating rapidly via Facebook. The photograph appears to show a young, heavily tattooed man forcing a puppy to drink vodka by pushing the bottle neck into its mouth.
If the photograph really does show a a puppy being force fed vodka, then it certainly would constitute an act of heinous animal abuse. However, the actual circumstances in which the photograph was taken is currently unclear. Without more details it is not possible to draw concrete conclusions about what is actually happening in the photograph.
The angle of the bottle suggests that the bottle neck may not actually be pointing down the dog's throat. And there does not appear to be any air bubbles rising in the bottle as would be expected if liquid was draining into the dog's mouth. It is possible that the man was simply removing the bottle from the pup's mouth after it picked it up to chew on. It is also possible that the scene was staged in some harmless, albeit poor taste joke. Also, the man does not appear to be holding the dog's neck that tightly and if liquid was to be poured down a dog's throat in such a way, at least some of the liquid would almost certainly splash back out onto the dog's face and body and end up on the floor. For that matter, the scene may have been mocked up for the photograph simply to cause outrage and consternation across the network. It certainly would not be the first time.
The bottom line is that the motives of the man can not be ascertained solely on the strength of this one photograph. The picture may not show what it seems and the man may not be abusing the animal at all. Without further information, reposting the picture and baying for the man's blood is effectively judging someone as guilty without any real evidence. This is not, or at least should not be, the role of Facebook or any other social network.
A person claiming to the young man in the photograph posted the following comment to the THE WORD WARRIOR Bonju Blog on August 13, 2012:
alex here, the one who posted the photo
i deeply apologize for the offensive nature and content but the reality is THE DOG IS NOT CONSUMING ALCOHOL NOR WAS HE IN ANY SORT OF DISTRESS. the lid was most definitly on the bottle. i do agree and in retrospect i regret taking the photo, it is disgusting and probably the stupidest thing i have ever been apart of.
i deeply apologize
i would NEVER put an animal of any sort in harms way. i am not a cruel person.
the puppy was playing with the tops of the bottles and chewing at them so it just seemed like a photo for a laugh or two, that is of course not the case. i have removed the photo completely, i can and will include a photo minutes before that one was taken on the puppy in my arms.
i hope my apology can be accepted, even though im most certainly sure it wont be, i have no way of escaping this now that it has been blown in that direction, i deserve every shot taken at me and i once more will apologize.
The following press release related to the incident was published on the Barrie Police Service Website (Ontario, Canada) on August 14 2012:
Occurrence Type: Social Media
Occurrence #: BA12039162
Date: Monday, August 13, 2012 - 11:00pm
On Sunday August 12th 2012, a complainant attended the Barrie Police Service to report a picture he viewed online of unknown male pouring vodka down a puppies throat.
After investigating the matter, Barrie Police located a suspect who advised Police that he had been at a friend’s who had a new puppy.
He advised the puppy would bite and chew anything possible and eventually started chewing on a sealed Vodka bottle.
The puppy was dragging the bottle around the floor while chewing the cap in a playful manner.
The suspect and owner thought it was amusing and took several photos, one of which appeared to portray the suspect pouring vodka down the throat of the dog
However the suspect stated he was actually taking the bottle out of the dog’s mouth while the dog was trying to pull away from him, and the puppy was not given any alcohol.
The suspect later posted this picture on his Facebook account and found the picture had spread to nearly 200 000 viewers, including animal rights activist groups.
He became concerned that the picture was being viewed out of context and deleted all of his email and Facebook accounts.
PC Jon BARNES of the Barrie Police Service spoke to the owner of the dog who confirmed she was present while the photos were taken.
She advised the puppy had not consumed any alcohol and had not been harmed in any way.
After a complete investigation, PC BARNES feels that the puppy was had not been forced to consume alcohol. The investigation was closed by Barrie Police.
However, York Regional Police are now investigating threats being made against the suspect in this matter.
Please contact PC Jon Barnes of the Barrie Police for any inquires.