7 min read

The World Has Another Woman Who Thinks This 'Joke' Is Funny

Of all the "solutions" for a barking dog, duct tape perhaps ranks as the most dubious.

In case this week's social media swarm passed you by, a woman named Katharine Lemansky was charged in Cary, North Carolina, after what she imagined to be a pioneering effort in "shutting up" her dog.

But there's a dismal history of duct-tape that goes back so much further than the Lemansky incident. Unthinking owners have been going medieval on their dogs since they first learned that they occasionally make sounds with their mouths.

Last June, William Dodson, also of North Carolina, put his dog in critical condition with duct tape.

It's not just tape, of course. June, the notorious "porch pooch," was similarly silenced using a phone cord and string.

Amber Cammack

Amber Cammack

Today, it's Kimberly Ann Howell's turn in court, also of North Carolina. She was found guilty of animal cruelty after this image of her dog Leah surfaced on social media.

A North Carolina woman who apparently posted photos showing her dog's mouth duct taped shut was found guilty of animal cruelty Thursday.

Her caption?

"Ha ha."

While in Howell's case, it was the biting (the play biting) that prompted Leah's terrible taping, the the woman's story plays out much like Lemansky's sordid tale. The parallels are downright eerie.

"I warned her. I told her I was going to teach her not to bite the baby again even play biting," the woman noted with her pictures.

Much like Lemansky, Howell didn't initially see what all the fuss was about. Even when police showed up at her doorstep.

Upon visiting the home, Detective R.C. Barkley (yes, that's his real name) stated that Howell's boyfriend appeared dumbfounded, telling police it wasn't "a big deal" and Leah wasn't "physically hurt."

"I could take a lie detector test and prove I meant her no harm and it was a joke," Howell would later note in court documents.

And, like Lemansky, Howell claims the muzzle taping was only in effect for a moment or so.

Finally, again, just like Lemansky, Howell seemed unable to get over the idea that people were mad at her. Neither owner responded well to the sudden outcry over their actions.

Lemansky on Facebook: "Dont panic everyone it was only for a minute but hasnt barked since... POINT MADE!!! [sic]"

Howell on Facebook:

"Wow ok maybe I should of said I was joking when posting that. But honestly though people would know better anyone who spend 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 that animal abusee. [all quotes are sic]"

Here's what renowned dog trainer Sam Basso has to say about this horrific trend on his website:

"The dog will panic, start breathing harder, desperately scratch at it's face to remove the tape, and ultimately suffocate to death, or will be brain injured and have to be euthanized. If the dog survives, the tape won't have taught the dog anything, and so the barking problem will continue. Taping doesn't ever work, it is cruel, and it is illegal."

But more importantly, regardless of how you feel about the new school of shaming on social media, there's an old-school lesson in every duct-taping case - one that appears to keep soaring over too many heads.

If you're willing to take responsibility for another life, be willing to take responsibility when you #$@ up.

"I'm mad at myself too but I never realized how mean people were," Howell wrote on her Facebook page.

If you see a case of animal cruelty, here's how to report it. And, if your dog barks, learn to understand what she's trying to tell you.