Hoax ‘injured dog’ posts use old photo which appears to be from Ukraine

11 April 2023
What was claimed

A photograph shows a dog that has been injured in a hit-and-run incident in the UK, and the person posting needs help to find its owner.

Our verdict

These posts are hoaxes. They use a photo that is at least a year old, and apparently shows a dog rescued in Ukraine.

Facebook posts falsely claiming a dog has been injured in a hit-and-run incident have appeared in community groups around the UK. The posts are hoaxes, and use a picture that is at least a year old and apparently shows a dog that was injured in Ukraine.

One post, which appears in a furniture selling group for Brampton and Carlisle in Cumbria, says: “Hello. If anyone is looking for this sweet girl, found her lying on the side raod in #brampton She was hit by a car in a hit and run incident. I took her to the vet she is in a critical condition, sustained multiple Fractures and on pain relief and oxygen. She is not chipped I know someone is looking for her. Please bump this post to help me find the owner [sic]”

Posts that use the same picture and almost identical wording, apart from changing the location, have appeared in multiple community groups across the country, including West Wickham in southeast London and Ashton-under-Lyne in Greater Manchester 

We also spotted them in groups for Kidbrooke in south London, South Hetton in County Durham, Wymondham in Norfolk and Poynton in Cheshire, though these had since been deleted at the time of publication. 

A photo accompanying the post shows a man holding a dog that is wrapped in bandages and has blood on its fur. 

A reverse image search reveals that the photo has been circulating on Facebook for at least a year and appears in community groups about the war in Ukraine. 

A Facebook group called ‘In Ukraine’ posted the photo in April 2022 with a caption that says: “Ukrainian soldier and a dog he saved and who was injured by Russian shelling in Kharkiv”, though we’ve not been able to verify these details. 

The same image was also shared on Twitter by an account called ‘UkrArmy cats & dogs’ in March 2022. 

Full Fact has written many times about ‘injured dog’ hoaxes, including posts that have very similar text to this one.  

We have also fact checked false claims that are posted to community Facebook groups to raise an alarm about missing children, abandoned babies and lost elderly people with dementia. 

These posts are often later edited to promote freebies, cashback or property listings, with comments frequently disabled, so that users who see what is happening are unable to call them out publicly. 

This behaviour poses a risk to user engagement with local community news as groups become overwhelmed with false information. Genuine posts about missing animals or people may be ignored or—perhaps worse for those desperately searching for loved ones—dismissed as false. 

We have written to Meta expressing these concerns and asking the company to take stronger action in response to this problem. 

Image courtesy of Solen Feyissa

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