Woman who duct-taped her dog’s muzzle and shared photos on Facebook was found guilty of animal cruelty. However, the judge suspended her sentence and even waived off a year of supervised probation as well.
Late last year, Katherine Lemansky—who also went by the name Katie Brown on her Facebook page – shared a rather cruel image of her dog who had his muzzle duct-taped. The photo of the dog had an equally horrifying caption which read: “This is what happens when you don’t shut up!!”
As expected, the image of the supposed animal cruelty went viral and drew widespread criticism, which eventually spurred an investigation. Subsequent to the investigation, which concluded recently, Lemansky was found guilty yesterday. The judge at a Wake County, NC courtroom noted that Lemansky was indeed guilty of animal cruelty. However, he refused to impose a harsh penalty on the woman, reported the Metro. Moreover, he even waived off supervised probation and let her off with a warning not to repeat the same. She merely has to pay the court fees.
The incident happened in November 2015. Alleging her dog wouldn’t keep quiet and continued to bark for no apparent reason, Lamansky taped his muzzle shut. She even snapped a photo of the same and posted it on Facebook. Within a few short hours, the photo went viral. Lemansky later said that she intended to send the photo to her son, but instead the photo was shared to the public. As expected, the photo was shared multiple times. Hundreds of people responded to the imagery and condemned the act.
Overwhelmed with the instant and persistent backlash, Lemansky later posted a follow-up photo the same day, saying:
“Don’t panic everyone it was only for a minute but [the dog] hasn’t barked since… POINT MADE!!!”
Despite Lemansky’s attempts to make light of the situation, the animal welfare community and the authorities weren’t laughing, reported Bark Post. The photo also caught the attention of Animal Control authorities. In fact, the image and the incident were investigated by teams from three separate states. Eventually, it was discovered the photo originated from North Carolina.
Thereafter, the case was taken over by Cary, NC Animal Control Supervisor Shelly Smith who personally looked into the facts of the case. When Smith visited Lemansky, the latter informed her that the photo was supposed to be just a joke and she wanted to share it with her son, but instead shared it publicly on November 27, 2015 with the concerning caption. Smith visited the residence where the incident happened a few days later and found the dog to be in good spirits. The dog was quite playful and friendly, as well as docile, which indicated there were no signs of aggression which is a strong indicator of routine violence and abuse.
There were no signs of injury, swelling or hair loss, which suggested his muzzle may have been only lightly taped. The incident appears to be quite similar to that of Kimberly Ann Howell, who claimed to have taped her dog’s muzzle shut as “a joke.” Howell was convicted of animal cruelty. There was another case of Caitlyn, whose former owner had used strong electrical tape to shut her mouth for at least 48 hours, leaving the dog permanently scarred.
Lemansky insists that the dog’s muzzle was lightly duct-taped for mere 15-20 seconds. Smith’s report noted that the incident was relatively harmless and didn’t warrant removing the dog from the home. However, it specifically mentioned that the case against Lemansky should still move forward.
During the court proceedings, prosecutor argued that even though the dog did not show any physical signs of injuries arising from duct-taping his muzzle or cause him pain, Lemansky still conducted an act that can considered as animal cruelty, reported ABC Action News. The judge agreed, but considering other aspects of the case, ruled the woman needn’t serve time.
[Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images]