A North Carolina woman who posted pictures on Facebook of her dog having duct tape wrapped around its mouth, Kimberly Ann Howell, was found guilty of animal cruelty on Thursday. The pictures were posted on Facebook at the beginning of October. Howell was sentenced to 45 days suspended sentence, 18 months of probation, and 36 hours of community service. The judged stated that he would like Howell to do her community service at an animal control center. Howell’s attorney wished to appeal the ruling, but Howell said, “I’ll take it.”
Recently, Katherine Lemansky (AKA Katie Brown), sparked similar outrage on Facebook when Lemansky posted a picture on Black Friday that showed her dog with duct tape around its mouth. The caption that Lemansky posted under the picture was, “This is what happens when you don’t shut up!!!” The ensuing police investigation took time to locate Lemansky, but when she was located, she was charged with animal cruelty.
— PetitionHub.org (@PetitionHub) November 30, 2015
Unlike Lemansky, Howell did the despicable act of animal cruelty for biting at her child and not for just barking. “I warned her. I told her I was going to teach her not to bite the baby again even play biting.” On her Facebook page, Howell became very defensive about the response she was getting about her dog.
“Wow ok maybe I should of said I was joking when posting that. But honestly though people would know better anyone who spend a week at my house would see how spoiled and loved my dog is. Anyways guess I really didn’t think through but anyone who knows me knows when I got Leah she [was] skin and bones how that animal abusee [all sentences sic].”
The picture of the duct-taped dog quickly went viral and sparked wide-ranging outrage online. Detective R.C. Barkley went to the home of Howell as part of his investigation. Howell’s boyfriend told the detective that he knew it was wrong to put duct tape around the mouth of the dog. Howell did not seem to really think it was much of an issue. Howell told police that it was not “a big deal,” and her dog “was not physically hurt.” While Howell was speaking about the incident in court, she said, “It didn’t hurt her, she just didn’t like it.” In court, Howell claimed that she loved her dog as she does her child. The prosecuting attorney quickly jumped on that statement and asked if she had ever put duct tape on the mouth of her child. Sheepishly, Howell stated, “no.” Howell’s boyfriend claims that the incident got way out of hand due to the viral spread of the dog’s picture across social media.
“The dog is in perfect health, I mean there’s nothing, as you can see she’s far from abused, I’m an avid animal lover and I’ve had 10-12 rescue dogs over the last couple years. There was a lot of backlash out of this, people took it out of context, I mean it was a bad decision on her part, she shouldn’t have posted it, the tape wasn’t on the dog longer than two minutes, it shouldn’t have been done it was just a bad judgment.”
Jamie Stivers of Rowan County Animal Control commented about the humane way to deal with a dog instead of putting duct tape around their mouth.
“Either purchase proper muzzles, they have different types, some that are soft, some that are plastic. The best alternative for any behavior modification type issues that you are having would be to get a trainer.”
— Nollywood Freaks (@NollywoodFreaks) October 3, 2015
What are your thoughts on the sentence that Howell received for putting duct tape around her dog’s mouth? Was it too harsh, or not harsh enough?
[Image via Twitter]