Update 2:49 pm 12/4/15
Kimberly Ann Howell – the woman who duct-taped her dog’s muzzle shut in October “as a joke” – has now been found guilty of animal cruelty in Rowan County, North Carolina. She has been sentenced to 45-day suspended sentence, 18 months probation, and 36 hours of community service with animal control.
The conviction comes after several stories of owners duct-taping their dogs’ mouths and the massive online backlash – and social media campaigns – that has resulted from them.
North Carolina resident Kimberly Ann Howell, 25, was recently charged with animal cruelty after duct taping her dog’s muzzle as a joke, reports USA Today.
According to the Rowan County Sheriff’s office, she then posted photos of the dog on Facebook with the caption, “ha, ha.” Animal lovers were immediately outraged, and led to the police paying a visit to Howell’s home to investigate. Howell also removed the photos from her Facebook, due to the comments they provoked.
She told police she only put the tape on long enough to take photos, and then immediately removed it. Police further reported the dog was in healthy condition and uninjured, with no signs of abuse or neglect. They left the pup, named Leah, in Howell’s custody.
Howell then posted another message on Facebook, defending her actions. According to The New York Daily News, she wrote:
“I could take a lie detector test and prove I meant her no harm and it was a joke,” Howell wrote. “Leah herself would show the world I haven’t and never would harm her. If I abused any animal, I would be right there with everyone saying it, but I didn’t…[the tape] wasn’t on her longer than 30 seconds or a minute if that…”Regardless, (I’m) a monster in everyone’s eyes,” she said. “I’m mad at myself too but I never realized how mean people were…Lesson learned, another mistake to never make. I’ve held back since this started but now I can’t hold it anymore and just need [to] cry.”
Due to other comments on Facebook, police initially believed the taping was to get the dog to stop barking. Howell also mentioned at one point the tape may have been an attempt to correct the pup from play biting her children.
Police arrested her a misdemeanor cruelty to animals charge and was held on a $2,000 bond. She is due back in court November 4th.