A photo which has circulated online since 2012 shows what appears to be a man forcing a puppy to drink vodka. Is the image real or fake?
The photo is real, but it is often mis-captioned.
The image dates from August 2012 and was taken in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. The man and the photo were investigated by local authorities, and no action was taken.
Captions for the photo have included: “Repost until this person is caught and prosecuted” or “Let’s get this one shared, hopefully someone will recognize this piece of sh-t and report him to the cops for animal cruelty/abuse.”
The photo surged in September 2013 and again in February 2014, with calls for the man to be “caught.” We have seen an increase in sharing of this photo in December 2014.
Police investigated the photo and issued the following press release (it is no longer available on their website, but can be viewed via the Internet Archive here.)
Prepared by Sgt Daniel Mafturack (3635)
Posted August 14, 2012
Occurrence Type: Social Media
Occurrence #: BA12039162
Date: Monday, August 13, 2012 – 11:00pm
On Sunday August 12th 2012, a complainant attended the Barrie Police Service to report a picture he viewed online of unknown male pouring vodka down a puppies throat.
After investigating the matter, Barrie Police located a suspect who advised Police that he had been at a friend’s who had a new puppy.
He advised the puppy would bite and chew anything possible and eventually started chewing on a sealed Vodka bottle.
The puppy was dragging the bottle around the floor while chewing the cap in a playful manner.
The suspect and owner thought it was amusing and took several photos, one of which appeared to portray the suspect pouring vodka down the throat of the dog
However the suspect stated he was actually taking the bottle out of the dog’s mouth while the dog was trying to pull away from him, and the puppy was not given any alcohol.
The suspect later posted this picture on his Facebook account and found the picture had spread to nearly 200 000 viewers, including animal rights activist groups.
He became concerned that the picture was being viewed out of context and deleted all of his email and Facebook accounts.
PC Jon BARNES of the Barrie Police Service spoke to the owner of the dog who confirmed she was present while the photos were taken.
She advised the puppy had not consumed any alcohol and had not been harmed in any way.
After a complete investigation, PC BARNES feels that the puppy was had not been forced to consume alcohol. The investigation was closed by Barrie Police.
However, York Regional Police are now investigating threats being made against the suspect in this matter.
Please contact PC Jon Barnes of the Barrie Police for any inquires.
The man in the photo posted an apology online shortly after the incident, which has since been removed. See the original here. His apology read:
alex here, the one who posted the photo
i deeply apologize for the offensive nature and content but the reality is THE DOG IS NOT CONSUMING ALCOHOL NOR WAS HE IN ANY SORT OF DISTRESS. the lid was most definitly on the bottle. i do agree and in retrospect i regret taking the photo, it is disgusting and probably the stupidest thing i have ever been apart of.
i deeply apologize
i would NEVER put an animal of any sort in harms way. i am not a cruel person.
the puppy was playing with the tops of the bottles and chewing at them so it just seemed like a photo for a laugh or two, that is of course not the case. i have removed the photo completely, i can and will include a photo minutes before that one was taken on the puppy in my arms.
i hope my apology can be accepted, even though im most certainly sure it wont be, i have no way of escaping this now that it has been blown in that direction, i deserve every shot taken at me and i once more will apologize.
Although the photo above has been shared online for over two years – often with calls to find the man in the photo – it is now an old story which has been resolved to the satisfaction of local authorities. Based on the official police report above, the puppy was said to be chewing on many items in the home – including a sealed bottle of vodka. The man claims to have been wrestling the bottle away from the dog, but later posted photos of the incident online, which he later regretted. The man told police he had received threats due to the photo, for which he has since apologized.
Sharing of the photo and calls to find the man are irrelevant.
Revised December 7, 2014
Originally published September 2013