NC Woman Faces Animal Cruelty Charges After Taping Dogs Mouth and Posting Picture on Facebook
A Salisbury, North Carolina woman has been criminally charged with animal cruelty after images of her dog with its mouth duct-taped shut on Facebook were reported to police.
Kimberly Ann Howell, 25, has been released from jail on a $3,000 bond. She faced not just criminal charges of animal cruelty, but charges of failure to appear in court for outstanding traffic charges.
“I warned her,” Howell wrote with the photos. “I told her I was going to teach her not to bite the baby again even play biting.”
Howell said that she took the tape off the dog’s snout immediately after the photos. Although the dog appears sad and distressed in the photos, Howell was following a trend of “dog shaming,” which mainly involves images of dogs with signs describing the bad act they performed, such as chewing shoes.
Detective Ryan Barkley, who investigated the incident, said the dog did not appear injured or have any signs of neglect.
Howell said on Facebook regarding the animal cruelty accusations: “Wow ok maybe I should of said I was joking when posting that. But honestly though people would know better anyone who spend (sic) 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 (sic) that animal abuse …I have made my mistakes in life too and believe me either I’ve paid for them or am still paying for them. But to call me an animal abuser or child abuser that’s so not true.”
Animal control backs up the police report that states that the dog did not appear abused or neglected in any way. They agreed that the dog could remain with Howell.
Howell stated in another post that she rescued to the dog from a cage at the pound and has provided the puppy with a good home ever since.
So far, there’s no word that the animal cruelty charges against Howell have been dropped. She also continues to receive harassment on Facebook. Although many people react emotionally to animal cruelty and criminal charges related to animal cruelty, the incident could have been compounded by the South Carolina dog who was found with injuries because of electrical tape that had been wrapped around its muzzle for a long time. In that case, the dog had other signs of abuse and neglect.
In South Carolina, animal cruelty charges stem from dog or cock fighting, inhumanely or cruelly confining an animal, unnecessarily killing an animal, or torturing, beating, or injuring an animal. This includes pets, farm animals, and wildlife. Neglect charges can include failure to provide food and water, failing to treat wounds or illness, failing to provide sanitary living conditions, including forcing animals into close proximity, and failing to provide adequate shelter, which can expose animals to excessive heat and cold.