An Ohio man’s heartwarming story about saving a dog that was found with its throat slit and its muzzle taped was nothing more than a hoax to avoid a hefty veterinarian bill, according to the Butler County Sheriff’s Office.
The pup, named Dani, won hearts on the internet last week after the sheriff’s office first shared details of its seemingly remarkable story.
“A subject walking in Madison Township discovered an injured canine on the side of the road,” the sheriff’s office wrote in its first Facebook post about the incident on Aug. 23. “The canine’s muzzle (nose and mouth) was duct taped shut and her throat cut.”
Vets found a chip on the dog indicating that it had been adopted in 2011 from HART Rescue, a shelter in Cincinnati. The dog has since been moved to that shelter, which is approximately 60 kilometres south of Madison.
Butler County Sheriff Richard K. Jones described the apparent case of animal cruelty as “appalling” in his initial statement. “Words cannot describe the disgust I’m feeling now,” he said. “We will work diligently to find who did this and seek justice.”
Dani’s plight triggered a tide of sympathy on Facebook, where users flooded the sheriff’s office with offers to adopt the dog.
“My heart breaks for this baby,” user Heather Renee wrote.
“Thank you for saving this pup,” added user Rosemary Chiaverini. “She deserves a forever home with blankets and beds and toys and a family who will take care of her her entire life. I know that someone is out there.”
The sheriff’s office announced on Monday that the man who found the dog was actually its owner, and that he had “concocted the story to get the canine help for free.”
The dog had cut its throat on a barbed wire fence and its owners could not afford the veterinarian bills, according to detectives with the sheriff’s office. Detectives also learned that the dog’s mouth wasn’t taped up.
“The snout/mouth area that appeared to be injured was due to it chewing up items in their residence and being aggressive toward their other canine.”
The sheriff’s office says the injury to Dani’s neck was not intentional, and it will not pursue charges because they would be outside its jurisdiction.
However, employees at HART Rescue in Cincinnati say they’re determined to see the dog’s owners brought to justice.
“We are absolutely pushing for charges,” Katie Goodpaster, who works at the shelter, told Fox19 on Monday.
Shelter officials say the dog’s current owner is not the one who adopted it in 2011.
Alice Anderson, who also works at the shelter, says Dani is recovering well.
“She is the most loving, wonderful dog,” Anderson told Fox19. “The tail wags 24/7.”
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Many Facebook users also demanded that Dani’s current owners be punished. The revelation of the true story triggered a second flooding of sympathy on Monday, which was also National Dog Day.
“I hope the owners will be forced to give it up so that it can be adopted by responsible pet owners,” wrote Sandy Robertson.
“I have mixed feelings about this,” wrote Bridgett Smith. “It’s horrible to think that someone would make up such an awful story but am glad the dog was able to get some help.
“Very glad the story was not true.”Follow @JoshKElliott
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