Just one year ago, the Internet was abuzz about Caitlyn, a poor dog who had been found with her muzzle duct-taped so tightly that her tongue was black from blood loss. (Today Caitlyn is very healthy, after several surgeries, is in the final stages of adoption and has become a poster fur-child for abused animals.)
However, in November of last year (2015), another photo started making the rounds and went viral. This was another dog with it’s mouth duct-taped shut Fortunately for the dog, its muzzle was not as tightly wrapped. The woman who duct-taped a dog’s muzzle was found.
Recently (early June, 2016), the original poster, Katherine Lemansky (using the Facebook name Katie Brown) was found guilty of animal cruelty in a Wake County, NC court. The judge imposed a year of supervised probation. He also suspended the sentence.
Reactions to the case have been mixed to say the least. There are some that feel the case shouldn’t have been tried at all. Other are expressing outrage that the sentence wasn’t stiffer or at least carried out. Most agree, however, that the decision to try the case and convict the abuser is a good sign, a sign that crimes against animals are being taken more seriously. (See our article on New Jersey and other states working to create a Registry of Convicted Animal Abusers.)
This new case is very similar to the of Kimberly Ann Howell, was also convicted of animal cruelty in NC last December. She claimed that she taped her dog’s muzzle as “a joke.” She admitted that she had duct-taped a dog’s muzzle.
None of these compare to Caitlyn’s story. The case against her former owner is still pending.
Cary, NC Animal Control Supervisor Shelly Smith investigated Lemansky’s case after a three-state investigation determined that the photo originated from that area. Lemansky told Smith that it was all just a joke and that the photo was only intended to be sent to her son. Instead it appeared on her public Facebook newsfeed on November 27, 2015 with the caption:
This is what happens when you don’t shut up!!!
In response to the instant backlash, Lemansky posted this follow-up later the same day:
Don’t panic everyone it was only for a minute but [the dog] hasn’t barked since… POINT MADE!!! (Barkpost)
Despite Lemansky’s attempts to make light of the situation, the animal welfare community and the authorities weren’t laughing. Supervisor Smith visited the home shortly after the incident and found the dog to be in good spirits with no signs of injury, swelling, or hair loss. Lemansky stated that the duct tape was only on Brown’s (the dog’s) muzzle for 15-20 seconds. Smith ultimately determined that the situation did not warrant removing the dog from the home, but that the case against Lemansky should still move forward. (Barkpost)
Looking at the images of “Katie Brown” and her dog, it is understandable that there would be some questions about whether or not what she did crossed the into “abuse.” Certainly she should have know that when she took the tape off it was going to hurt. The courts felt it was abuse and many people agree. Regardless, it does show that even looking like you are mistreating a pet is going to be looked at very carefully in the future and that is a good thing, a very good thing.
We are glad you are interested in the article about a woman who duct-taped a dog’s muzzle.