UPDATE: Police have tracked down Katharine Lemansky after a three-state search and charged her with animal cruelty. She is scheduled to appear in court Dec. 14.
It’s like a new version of “Has Justine Landed Yet” - have the police tracked down that lady who taped her dog’s mouth shut?
You’ve probably seen this picture over the holiday weekend of a distressed-looking Chocolate Labrador with duct tape wrapped around his muzzle. It was posted to Facebook by a woman calling herself Katie Brown, with the caption “This is what happens when you dont shut up!!!”
The social media backlash must have been swift and furious, because soon afterward she posted “Dont panic everyone it was only for a minute but hasnt barked since… POINT MADE!!!” But the damage was done - the photo was shared more than 200,000 times and thousands of people were trying to find her, report her to police and have her dog taken away.
Now it’s Monday, the woman hasn’t been found yet and the dog hasn’t been rescued. Is she going to be able to wait this out, or will the internet not rest until the police find her?
Her Facebook page - which was completely public long after the backlash started, though it looks like some posts have been removed or made private by today - says she lives in South Daytona, Florida and went to college at Central Connecticut State University. Police departments in both these cities have been flooded with angry calls. Her page also says she’s self-employed; otherwise her employer would have been caught up in this too.
An official investigation is underway, but it’s reached the point where police are begging people not to flood their phone lines about this story, as it could impact their ability to respond to other emergencies. An Avon Police Department spokesperson said the situation “is causing a serious strain on our dispatch center.”
The South Daytona Police Department told local news outlet KRON they have information that indicates the dog is okay, though that’s not good enough for her angry critics. They've figured out that Katie Brown is actually called Katharine Lemansky and she owns property in both Florida and Connecticut. Her property in South Daytona appears vacant and is under code enforcement action.
Once Lemansky and her dog are found, the police say they’ll proceed as with any other criminal investigation. Whether the internet will get the revenge they’re crying out for remains to be seen.