**Update December 4, 2015**
While the vast majority of the world has come out in protest against Katharine Lemansky and her actions on Facebook recently, one person is speaking out in support. The woman, Attisyn Chadwick, believes that perhaps the public is responding too harshly.
She posted a video of herself wrapping duct tape around her own dog’s muzzle to demonstrate how it can be removed gently. It doesn’t seem that many agree with her, however, as people are already reacting the same way they have been with Lemansky.
“My intention was to show that I support Katie,” Chadwick said. “Not that I condone her actions, but that I don’t think she was a monster for doing it. […] It just bothered me that she was getting so much hate for basically just a bad decision.”
View her Skype interview with WFLA below for a full recap of the story.
**Update November 30, 2015**
The police department in Cary, North Carolina has released a statement regarding the investigation of Katharine Lemansky (listed on Facebook as Katie Brown), who publicly shared a photo of her dog with a duct tape-bound muzzle. (Brown was initially found to have left Daytona one and a half years earlier, and was also not located with family in Avon, Connecticut. Police eventually tracked her to NC.) She has been charged with one count of Class 1 Misdemeanor Cruelty to Animals. If she is found guilty, Ms. Lemansky may have to pay a fine and possibly serve up to 150 days in jail.
Cary Police Captain Randall Rhyne says:
Taping the dog’s muzzle shut was a terrible decision on Ms. Lemansky’s part, and charging her with animal cruelty under North Carolina law was the right thing to do. At the same time, it’s important to also note that our animal control officers who physically examined both Brown and her littermate found the dogs to be very well cared for, which is why we did not and could not remove them from the owner.
He claims that the dogs are up to date on their vaccines, spayed, and microchipped, and that they are “clean and well-nourished and appear to be comfortable in their surroundings.” Officers did not detect any injury to the dog’s muzzle, nor any hair loss.
We will update as needed.
Dogs inhumanely muzzled with tape seems to be becoming something of a trend lately, what with the famous Caitlyn and her permanently scarred muzzle, the North Carolina woman who placed duct tape around her dog’s mouth as a joke, and even the dog abandoned on a roadside in the same condition.
Recently, a Florida woman posted a photo to her Facebook page of her dog with her mouth taped shut, along with the caption “This is what happens when you don’t shut up!!” The post has been shared over 125,000 times by outraged people, and it’s quickly getting worldwide attention.
When a friend commented with a plea for her to reassure people she didn’t do it to harm the dog, Brown replied, “I cant lie i did it for sixty seconds. It was time out and no more barking.”
The local police department told the Daily Mail that they have received a massive influx of phone calls regarding the post, some even as far as Australia. They have since posted the following to their Facebook page:
Additionally, authorities have determined that Brown is out of town for the holiday weekend and cannot be reached; they believe she took and posted the photo while at this location. “We have information to indicate that the dog is OK at this time,” they wrote, and assured everyone they will continue the investigation when she returns.
In response to the onslaught of outraged comments, Brown wrote: “Dont [sic] panic everyone it was only for a minute but hasn’t barked since… POINT MADE!!!” She refuses to remove the photo at this time.
The reason why people behave this way is not all we should be worried about; how they respond to their own behavior is important too. As new stories arise all the time about dogs with their muzzles bound, it’s becoming surprisingly common for people to defer to it as punishment or laud it as a joke. In other words, they treat it like there is nothing wrong.
And though no one can say for sure why anyone chooses to make these things public, it is definitely not something that’s helping the problem.
Securing a dog’s muzzle shut eliminates his ability to pant and breathe through his mouth, which will cause anxiety and faster breathing as a result. There is no evidence supporting taping a dog’s mouth to discourage barking—it is simply an ineffective form of discipline.
If your dog is displaying unwanted behaviors (such as excessive barking), please consult a licensed trainer to help identify the reason for the behavior and work together to find a humane solution.