Hoax post about injured dog uses picture taken in Australia

31 May 2023
What was claimed

An injured dog has been found by someone posting in a County Durham Facebook group.

Our verdict

This is a hoax. The dog in the photo was actually involved in an incident in Melbourne, Australia, in 2019.

A post on Facebook falsely claims that an injured dog has been found by someone posting in a buying and selling group for people in Dipton, County Durham, and urges social media users to share the post in order to find its owner. 

The post says: “My hubby and I found this sweet girl by our gate.

“We just got her checked at the vet.. She's not microchipped. She definitely misses her family.. I fed her and I will continue feeding until I find the owner.. Please bump this post to help me find the owner [sic].” 

The text is accompanied by a picture of a white dog covered in blood, being held by someone who is cropped out of the shot. 

But this is not a real appeal, and the dog in the photo was not found in County Durham. The picture is actually from an incident in Melbourne, Australia, in 2019, in which a woman was injured while breaking up a dog fight. 

Hoax appeals like these are very common, and we have written about this photograph of an injured dog being used in this way before. The text used in the post is also a clue that it could be a hoax: these posts often use the word “sweet”, claim the animal was picked up in a public area such as a side road and is not microchipped and ask social media users to “bump” the post. 

We’ve also seen similar phrasing for hoax posts about missing children, injured pets and abandoned babies

The comments under the post have been disabled, and Derbyshire Police has previously warned that this can be a clue that such a post may be a hoax, as someone genuinely looking for information is very unlikely to turn off comments.

These posts are sometimes edited later to promote freebies, cashback or property listings. This behaviour can mean that genuine posts could be ignored or dismissed as false. 

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

It’s always worth checking whether content is real before you share it. We have written a guide on how to verify viral images which you can read here.

Image courtesy of dole777

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