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Hoax Warning Message - 'National Kill A Pit Bull Day'

Outline
Warning message circulating via social media claims that October 31 (Halloween Night) has been designated as "National Kill a Pit Bull Day" and warns dog owners to lock up their animals because people have been instructed to go out and kill as many pit bulls and other dog breeds as possible before midnight on the designated day.

Pitbull

© iStockphoto.com/MorganLeFaye



Brief Analysis
The message is a hoax. The warning is an attempt to get back at a man named Terry Jordan, a city councilman in a small Missouri town who crafted a 'vicious dog' ordinance that proved unpopular with local pit bull lovers. Someone created a fake social media account in Jordan's name and posted the message. It soon spread far and wide via Twitter, Facebook and other social networks, with many recipients apparently believing the warning to be valid. The hoax, which started in September 2012, again gained momentum in September 2013.

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Example
Nataional Kill a Pit Bull Day Hoax

Detailed Analysis


This message, couched as a warning to dog owners, is circulating rapidly via Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets. The message claims that October 31 (Halloween Night) has been designated as "National Kill a Pit Bull Day" and warns dog owners to keep their dogs locked up on Halloween this year. The warning includes a message, supposedly from a person named Terry Jordan, that asks people to round up some friends and use any means available to "kill as many pit bulls as you can before midnight" on the designated day.

The message began circulating in September 2012. It once again gained momentum in September 2013.

The claims in the message are - of course - utter nonsense. The message was apparently created by an irate, dog-loving prankster as a means of exacting revenge on the man mentioned in the message. Terry Jordan, a city councilman in a small Missouri town, help craft a 'vicious dog' ordinance that was unpopular with local pit bull lovers. Soon after, a fake social media account was set up in Jordan's name and this account was then used to blast out the above message.

It happened to get sent to a musician who re-tweeted the message with a note that he was doing so to warn pit bull owners. But a large number of kneejerk reactionary "shoot first read later" types started castigating said musician in the mistaken belief that it was actually him who crafted the 'kill" order in the first place.

A September 19, 2012 article in the Marshall Democrat-News noted:

Slater City Councilman Terry Jordan never took interest in Facebook or Twitter, but the social networks have buzzed about him all afternoon.
At approximately 3 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 17, the Slater Police Department, Slater City Hall and Jordan's business began receiving phone calls regarding a viral social network post. The uproar stemmed from an Internet post that called for violence against pit bulls. But Jordan seemed nearly as horrified by the post as the Internet did.

"We don't know who posted it, and I don't know how to stop it," Jordan said.

While Jordan helped create a vicious animal ordinance earlier in 2012, this law merely placed safety restrictions on pet owners

A follow up article in the same publication further noted:

During the Slater City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 18, Mayor Stephen Allegri had a strong message for anonymous callers and Internet posters who have incorrectly attributed a social media post to city councilman Terry Jordan.
"Our Terry has been inundated and the city has been inundated with threats and calls," he said. "Well, Terry didn't do this."

Jordan has been at the center of an Internet storm since a video and statement encouraging a "kill pit bull" day were posted on YouTube three days ago by someone using the same name.

"Do your research people, this is not the man," Allegri said.

Thus, the above warning was never legitimate to begin with and sending on such misinformation will help neither people nor their canine companions.

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Last updated: September 19, 2013
First published: October 5, 2012
Research: David White and Brett Christensen
By Brett M. Christensen and David White
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References
Slater councilman feels wrath of false Internet post
Slater mayor urges social media users to stop targeting councilman