Facebook hoax lands RVA woman at center of animal cruelty investigation

Facebook hoax lands RVA woman at center of animal cruelty investigation

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - An internet hoax landed a Richmond woman at the center of an animal cruelty investigation. Someone took her photo and created a fake Facebook profile that showed her allegedly posting a picture of a bloodied dog with the caption, "This is what happens when you chew up mommy's slippers twice in a week. Granny can still swing the ol' claw hammer."

Richmond Animal Control launched an investigation after multiple complaints. Animal control says the whole thing is a hoax. The bloodied dog is actually from a case out of Oklahoma where a dog was shot by his neighbor.

"The pictures are really grotesque. It shouldn't be shared on Facebook at all," said Christie Chipps Peters with Richmond Animal Control. "Our main concern is is there an animal that is being abused in the city of Richmond? And so we are so grateful that we have people who are actively reaching
out to us to try and find some sort of a resolution. We tell everybody if you see anything send it to us. There is nothing that we will not look into."

We asked NBC12 legal analyst Steve Benjamin if this was criminal activity. "When you use a computer simply to be a jerk in some malicious fashion just to hurt somebody, that's not necessarily criminal," he said.

Investigators said the local victim didn't even have a Facebook page. Benjamin said she could always sue for defamation and offered one more possible legal option. "When you make a false writing to the detriment of somebody else's rights, that is the crime of forgery," he said. "...Arguably, it could be prosecuted. This kind of stuff has to stop. It's just wrong."

Copyright 2016 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.