A Florida woman who posted a picture on Facebook of her dog with its mouth taped shut was charged by Cary Police on Monday with misdemeanor cruelty to animals, following a search that spanned three states.
Katharine F. Lemansky, 45, whose Facebook page lists her name as Katie Brown, posted the photo on Nov. 27, with a caption that read, “This is what happens when you dont shut up!!!” After the photo started generating comments, Lemanksy posted another comment within minutes that read, “Dont panic everyone it was only for a minute but hasnt barked since ... POINT MADE!!!”
The photo of Brown, a chocolate lab-mix with silver duct tape on her mouth, went viral and sparked an investigation that ultimately led police to Cary.
Lemansky was charged with one count of class 1 misdemeanor cruelty to animals, which carries a fine and possibly up to 150 days in jail, according to a news release. She must appear in Wake County court on Dec. 14. No additional charges are pending.
“She realizes now she made a terrible decision,” Cary Police Capt. Randall Rhyne said in an interview.
She was cited about 4:30 p.m. Monday at a house on Churchview Street in Cary, where she was visiting friends, Rhyne said. He said she gave police a South Daytona, Fla., address as her residence.
The photo of Brown had a South Daytona location, leading concerned Facebook users to contact South Daytona law enforcement. Police there said they had received confirmation from Lemansky’s family members that she had not lived in South Daytona Beach for about one and a half years, according to Cary Police.
Information on Lemansky’s Facebook page also prompted Facebook users to contact police in Avon, Conn., where she was thought to reside. Law enforcement said she no longer lived there.
Eventually, South Daytona law enforcement contacted Cary police to assist in the investigation after learning Lemansky was in North Carolina.
Rhyne said Lemansky was visiting friends in Cary with her two dogs, including Brown.
Rhyne said animal control officers examined Brown and didn’t detect any hair loss from where the tape had been. Rhyne said the dogs were found to be well cared for. They will remain with Lemansky, Rhyne said.
Police in Avon said they had received a flood of calls urging them to investigate Brown. Police went to an address in town associated with Brown’s family and determined the incident had not taken place there, the Hartford Courant reported.
“We made contact with the occupant of the home who verified that the person of interest and the dog both reside in Florida,” Avon police Chief Mark Rinaldo said in a press release. “We have notified Florida authorities.”
Avon police said Monday that they were working with the South Daytona police department to determine Brown’s whereabouts, the status of her dog and where the incident took place.
Avon police Chief Mark Rinaldo made a plea for the public to cease calling about the case. “The Avon police dispatch center has been inundated with calls from concerned citizens,” he said. “While we share your concern with the abuse of animals, we want to assure all concerned individuals that we have fully investigated this case.”
Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608; @KTrogdon