Woman Charged After Dog's Mouth Duct-Taped Shut
Police in North Carolina have charged a woman with animal cruelty after pictures of her dog muzzled with duct tape appeared on social media.
Katharine Lemansky, 45, is charged with one count of Class 1 Misdemeanor Cruelty to Animals after admitting she wrapped tape around her dog Brown's mouth while in the city of Cary, according to a police statement.
Police saw no reason, however, to take her dogs away.
"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," Captain Randall Rhyne of the Cary Police Department said in the statement. "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."
To borrow a phrase from Lemansky, known on Facebook as Katie Brown, $%$#.
Lemansky posted her way to prominence - and ignominy - with a series of profanity-laced images trumpeting her success at getting her dog to stop barking.
Here's how she allegedly did it:
It takes a big person to admit when one is so terribly wrong. Apparently, bigger than Lemansky, who remained defiant, at least initially, in the face of a swirling media storm:
"I cant lie. [I] did it for sixty seconds. It was time out," Brown explained. "Dont panic everyone it was only for a minute but hasn't barked since... POINT MADE!!!"
Then it was humanity's turn to make an actual point. Lemansky has been pilloried everywhere from British tabloids to "Good Morning America."
And the social media onslaught has been relentless, with equal parts calls for justice and threats to Lemansky's life.
In the case of the former, an overwhelmed South Daytona Police Department has pleaded with the public to stop flooding their communications.
"Our email server has gone down, our station computers have gone down and our phone lines are having issues due to all the attention," said South Daytona Lt. Daniel Dietrich on Saturday.
"It has amazed us at how quickly this story is spreading and how many people are aware of it," Jon Nowinski, of animal welfare group Emergency Animal Response Service (EARS), told the Orlando Sentinel. "It's great to know there are so many who care about the welfare of animals in situations like these. It's important people know their voices are heard and make a difference."
But the tenor of social media may have also taken a turn for the terrifying.
As the original photo was shared 288,000 times in just 32 hours, Lemansky has received multiple death threats, ranging from the relatively mild ("Let's put tape over your mouth and see what happens") to the downright chilling ("Just hold her head underwater until the bubbles stop.")
And that may be reason enough for Lemansky laying low in Cary, North Carolina, where she was finally charged on Monday.
According to the statement from local police, all of her dogs, including the chocolate Lab who had been seen with a duct-tape muzzle, were in good health.
"The dogs are current on their shots, spayed, and microchipped," the report read. "They are clean and well-nourished and appear to be comfortable in their surroundings. And there were no signs of injury to Brown's muzzle, not even detectable hair loss."
Few other details can be gleaned from the still-active Facebook account for "Katie Brown." She's listed as self-employed and a one-time student at Central Connecticut State University. Her most recent post vows revenge on the person who posted a picture of her truck online.
Brown faces a fine of $5,000 for animal cruelty.
Which brings us back to a dog police have now identified as Brown. A dog whose face has launched a thousand what-the-f%#s.
It's not the first time a dog's been spotted with a taped or tied muzzle. Horrific images showing this entirely wrongheaded, brutal and even life-threatening "solution" to quiet a barking dog (dogs bark, who would have thought?) remain painfully plentiful on Facebook.
There are a lot of things you should do if you see animal cruelty on the internet. Death threats are not one of them.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the latest on the charge against Lemansky.