Hoaxes & Rumors

Investigating the Hanging Puppy Photo

Investigating the Hanging Puppy Photo

It’s a disturbing sight, regardless of its origin: two men holding a wire, wrapped around a puppy’s neck, while laughing and flipping us the bird. The photo has seen a resurgence on the internet recently, especially on Facebook. The captions vary, but they usually encourage people to share the photo in hopes that the culprits can be found.

But is this photo real and is it recent?

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The short explanation is (as best as we can tell) that the photo is probably not a hoax, but the story is old and inaccurate as shared in 2011.

Because there are no definite answers about who is in the photo and if it’s a hoax, we can at least go back to its origins, some of the original stories, and some theories behind it.


• The photo pre-dates 2011.
It can be found readily from news posts and blog posts from 2010. Claims of it being years old cannot be substantiated as of this writing because I simply couldn’t find any references to it or copies of it on any pages prior to mid-2010. 

** Update: See comments below. A commenter has found this photo from a Portuguese blog dated 2008. The blogger states that he/she received that photo in an email, which corroborates many of the 2010 comments I read which stated that this photo had been floating around via email for some time. That blog also points to this page, which has some forwarded emails referring to this photo.

• (If real) The dog is was probably killed and mutilated
There were additional photos purportedly of the same puppy, which unfortunately had been brutally killed. One photo shows it having been stabbed, while another shows an eye that had been apparently carved out of its head. It appeared to be the same dog as in the picture.


Because a rather lengthy explanation follows, some readers would want to see my conclusion first. The story as we can best piece it together is:

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The photo was taken sometime before August 2010. A Facebook “troll” group started a page using this photo in August 2010, which led to its eventual proliferation in October 2010. That’s when a prominent Malaysian actress retweeted the photo, authorities took notice, and news of it exploded. Since then, the photo has kept resurfacing on sites such as Facebook.

These don’t appear to be the same men who were caught in Tepic, Mexico (see below), nor the ones who apologized for abuse on YouTube. The men in the photo are still unknown, and the photo has probably been slightly altered, but abuse of a dog did seem to occur.

Because the men have (mistakenly) been identified as the men in Mexico, and also because the story exploded in Malaysia, we often hear that these men are Mexican or Malaysian.

Below are additional details about the photo.

August 2010 – Facebook Page and Reddit Forums

Here is the first reference to the photo in question that we could find, and it’s from a Reddit discussion posted on 8/8/2010. It’s a rather lengthy discussion, which perhaps spanned a couple months. According to readers here, a Facebook page called Dile Si Al Maltrato was created and claimed that it would kill an animal for every 100 likes it received. Although Facebook quickly took the page down, the page apparently made it over 200 likes and did post pictures of dogs they claimed to have killed. Dile Se Al Maltrato means “Say Yes to Mistreat” or possibly “Say Yes to Abuse.”

The Reddit discussion includes purported names of the men in the photo, but researching the links provided leads to photos and videos of people that don’t resemble the two men in this photo. The names listed are are of known animal abusers, but we couldn’t find a clear connection to the two men in the photo. Other users claim to have seen some images used on the Facebook page (but don’t specifically mention the hanging puppy photo) years earlier.

The consensus of the discussion is that this Facebook page was not created by those in the photos, but by someone merely hoping to stir up and enrage people by using older animal cruelty photos.

Many in the forums claim the story to be old, that the men were arrested in Tepic, Mexico. The problem is that the Tepic teens appear to be the ones seen wearing red shirts in this picture, posting other (equally horrifying) abuse pictures. We have yet to see anything definitively linking the Tepic story with the “hanging puppy” photo.

The Reddit forums link to a now-nonexistent blog post which claims that the story is old and that the men have already been punished. According to later comments, this article also seems to be assigning blame to the Tepic teens.

A Facebook group (in Spanish) dealing with the Tepic teens is also attributed to the hanging puppy photo.

The reason for the confusion appears to be that the original Facebook abuse group culled abuse photos from different sources – including the Tepic incident and the hanging puppy photo, thus leading people to believe these are the same people, a point with which we do not agree.

One commenter points to an article that supposedly names the two men. The link provided gives us a 404 error now, but searching site we find the article in question here. That article leads us to photos other than the one we’re discussing here, and the men in the photos don’t resemble the two we’re looking for.

This site and this one are also are listed, but again seems to point to the “other” story of young men torturing dogs. A YouTube video of the men supposedly apologizing is linked, but again this shows three men (not two), and none of them resemble the two men in the photo.

October 2010 – Malaysian Tweet

A Malaysian actress received a Tweet of the photo on Twitter and re-tweeted it, sparking an outcry in that country. The following timeline is a result of this.

•  The photo appeared on this blog

• The photo appears in a Malaysian blog called Malaysian Dogs Deserve Better
• Petpositive posts an article about the photo
This article mentions that the photo was widely circulated on Twitter. A commenter claims the photo is as old as 2007 and has most likely been altered. No evidence is offered.

10/17/2010 – The story starts to explode, appearing on many news websites, some of which are listed below.
• A traditional newspaper published an article with the photo
• More news reports of Malaysian authorities investigating photo. (thestar.com)
This one claims the photo was originally posted on the Twitter page of a Malaysian actress, who was uncooperative with authorities.

Napizsar.com posts the photo, according to cached records (site is currently unavailable).
The user craftnation posts a video on YouTube to spread the word about it.

• Care2.com publishes the photo in a high-profile article

• The Malay Mail published an article with the photo, claiming that an investigation had been launched.
• Hungarian website Kuruc.info reposts the photo, which has the URL napizsar.com superimposed on it.
• Malay Mail reports that it was actress Lisa Surihani named as the person who re-tweeted it and bringing it to light, and that she didn’t know the individuals.
A commenter on this article claims it is an 8-year-old photo that has been floating around emails since then. Another commenter mentions that they had seen it much earlier. Again, no evidence is given.

• Blog discussing photo

• The photo is posted on current.com, asking people to contact PETA.

• Here the photo is published in a blog referencing the Malay Mail article.

• Another blogger expresses outrage over the photo

October 2011

The photo is once again being circulated on Facebook. Although the image is disturbing, it is a relatively old event. A popular caption read:

“Hi guys, i need to ask you a huge favor. Please circulate this photo on your…profiles and send it to your friends. We need to find these people and make them pay for the abuse and pain they are inflicting on innocent animals. We don’t know what country they are at, but Facebook is worldwide, so let’s use the power of social media and friends to capture these abusers. Thank you in advance, i would be so grateful if you could do that for the little animals out there. Please notify the police and animal protection services as soon as you come across some valid information.”

Analysis of the photo

There have been claims that the photo was altered, which is certainly possible, but there were other photos published alongside this one which showed a mutilated puppy that resembled the one in this photo.

The photo has certainly been altered, at least minimally, as we see the top left of the picture contains a black band where the man’s arm should continue to the edge of the image. Something was apparently blacked out, such as a website, or some other identifying information.

In reading the various forums from the October 2010 version of this incident, we find several who claimed that the photo at that time was years old, perhaps 5 to 8 years old, but no evidence was offered.

We never found the results of the Malaysian police investigation, which apparently didn’t get very far.

If you have any additional info about this photo, especially about earlier sightings online than August 2010, please post a comment.

Modified May 17, 2015

  • Charmaine Rampey

    While I am not condoning this is anyway, did anyone stop to think that in their culture this is acceptable? There are many different cultural practices in many different countries that others who are not part of the culture, especially Americans, do not agree with. It’s already been stated that these boys are from a different culture, there are some cultures that see dogs as a food source.

  • Angel Dioyo

    Please please please… I found video downloaded on Facebook..picturing 3 woman abusing the little dog it take too long time they use their feet to touch the dog until its died..please its make me cry so much hurt to see what they do..i share this video on my Facebook account for you to verify…please…imbhoping for your imidiate response..hrte is my Facebook account.. Angel Brinas Dioyo…please please.. thank you

  • JP

    So, ok its not a real photo. That said, I’m still ok with finding people who think its funny to pretend to abuse animals, and teach them a thing or two, for the record.

  • Marjorie

    This picture is also being spread on Facebook BRASIL, now , but fortunatelly not with a racist text.
    I’d love to know that these guys have been found.

  • berthe van ijsselstein

    This picture is now spread by a Dutch Facebook user. Suggestion the guys are ” people who eat no pigs and complain about discrimination” For the ‘friends’ to be understood as muslims?

  • patty

    What can I do to help catch these boys ?
    Face book cant control this ? that is so scary if not – Im not a huge face book user but this is sick and these people need to be tracked down and hung

  • Bella

    Hey why don’t you contact the hacker group Anonymous.. Im sure they could find these people and would be glad to !

  • Helen

    Hi,can you tell me since you published this,have you got any further with your investigation on these two scumbags.Its hard to believe that after so many years and it being circulated so much,they still havent been caught 🙁 there is far to much of this horrific cruelty going on and needs to have a zero tolerance and harsh sentences if this is to be stopped

    • waffles

      We have occasionally re-visited this topic to see if we could find anything new, but other than the photo resurfacing every few months, there haven’t been any new sightings of these two guys. We’re hoping one of our readers can tip us off at some point.

  • Caz

    If this is real and the puppy was then stabbed and had his eye gouged out by these two disgusting excuses for human beings then they have to be caught, and someone out there will know who they are. It is a well known fact that murderers often start by harming animals before murdering a human for the first time. Who knows what else these two monsters have done since this photo.

    • Tam

      You are so right. These two make me puke. I hope they rot in hell for harming that little dog.

  • Ali

    Thank you for your research. If real or fake and no matter how old the picture is they need to be brought to justice as either way their minds are sick.

  • Thisguy

    Bob is probably actually right. The fact that the line is not hanging straight down, and the image of the dog is sharp, shows that the dog is probably standing on something. Poor little thing is probably not very comfortable though 🙁

  • bob

    Ok so this picture is fake (hard to tell but it is).

    1. you see the guy on the left he is obviously leaning on a board.

    2. the dog was sitting on the board.

    3. the guy on the right is holding the string

    4. the dog was not being choked, the string was picked up by the right guy. It was looped over something. Although the dog wasn’t choking, it was probably hard for him/her to breath but not to choking point. (I researched this so I hope this calms some people who think this is real :).

  • Dylan

    I swear the one on the left goes to my school

  • Trish Norman

    These men are Maori from New Zealand. The jacket is a New Zealand jacket and I would say they are they are in NZ when the offence occured

  • Geoffrey

    This resurfaced on my Facebook newsfeed this morning, as one of 77,000 shares from a guy’s post in January 2012. Captioned with “Share this picture! If you can identify these guys call the police or animal rights Keep this circulating.”

    Checked with a Google image search that eventually led me here, the best accounting of the matter I’ve found so far. Thank you for your efforts waffles, as well as the other readers who are crosschecking stories and digging up sources to this day.

    • waffles

      Thanks for your comment. The users here have really provided a wealth of information.

  • Lurtle

    Yoda, it’s possible to be outraged by BOTH. I find this photo to be suggestive of a horrible end for that sweet little baby. This does not mean I don’t care about the millions of animals murdered through euthanasia every year. To scoff at those of us that are disgusted by the pieces of trash in the picture and the act they are committing is ridiculous. Your callousness actually negates your concern about euthanasia.

  • Liam

    I will find these sick twats and do a Derek on them with a chainsaw and hang them in a tree. Make them feel the pain of being tortured and hung.

  • Chris

    That pic is about eight years old since about eight years ago that photo was posted on sites where stories, pics and videos of graphic nature are posted such as Ogrish or Everwonder.

    • waffles

      Thanks for the update Chris. I remember Ogrish from back in the day, too.

  • waffles

    Thanks for posting those. Yes, those are the same guys people in the forums kept confusing with our two men in question, and they are obviously not the same people… This is why I believe the men in the photo were not caught, at least that we know of.

  • waffles

    Thank you very much for your comment and the link. That’s exactly the type of site I have been trying to find, which corroborates many of the forum comments I found from 2010 that this photo started off in circulation via email. Perhaps this is the moment that moved it from email to web?

    Again, thanks for your contribution.

  • Elke

    This is really a good research. I learned about it at that time when sombody posted a petition which I signed. In this petition was also the video but I didn’t look. The person who opened the petition was describing the video. But it is not the petition you show as a link. But I am quite sure that this was earlier then 2010. And I think the name was a bit different. There was the word “maltrato” in it but the name altogether was a bit shorter. I remember that I asked a spanish friend of mine if she heard about this group. I tried already to find the mail, I am sure I still have it and also probably the link of the petition, because I sent it to all my friends to sign. And as I noted as well in the mean time it got mixed up with different cases. I wish they got caught and I really would like to know that ….

  • Beth

    This is, indeed, abhorrent behavior. However, if it had been a baby chicken or pig, no one would give a crap. Those animals also feel just as much pain as a puppy and would protest as much to being tortured. Yet people eat the product of this abuse every day without thinking, then call themselves “animal lovers” because they are too “good” to eat dogs.

    • waffles

      Beth, thank you for the comment and for posting a valid argument. Pigs have around the same intelligence as dogs, yet are slaughtered en masse with complete acceptance. That, of course, wasn’t the focus of this article, but I certainly agree with you on the hypocrisy of selective outrage when it comes to the treatment of animals.

    • Ali

      I would feel the same no matter what animal it was!

    • Annie

      I personally would be just as outraged if it had been ANY animal, and I know I am not alone on that. Puppies and pigs and chickens and any other farm, domestic, or wild animal deserves to live it’s life without pain and torture.

    • ladybug

      Crawl out from under that rock, and go watch “earthlings”. Its a documentary, free online. Then tell me about how those chickens and cows and pigs are “killed as humanely as possible”. If you have a heart at all, it’ll change the way you look at your next cheeseburger…

  • April

    This is disturbing. I hope they find these guys someday.

  • T.Blake

    Wow! You have done extensive research on this disgusting photo and I appreciate all your efforts. I userstand this is not a current photo however, I would like to see the two pond scum in the photo brought before the judicial system. Honestly, I would rather take them in the woods and do a “Dexter” on them.

    I would appreciate if you could email me so that we may be able to collaborate and sawed what the possiblitiea of getting one step further in finding the pond scum.

    Thank you for your time-
    T. Blake

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