Injured dog hoax uses photo of pet recovering from surgery

20 June 2023
What was claimed

A social media user has found a dog injured in a hit-and-run incident and needs help finding its owner.

Our verdict

The post is a hoax. It uses a photo from a blog post about someone’s pet recovering from surgery.

A post on Facebook claiming that a dog has been injured in a hit-and-run incident is a hoax. The photo used in the post comes from an unrelated online blog post. 

The post, which appeared in a community group for Brierley Hill in Dudley, West Midlands, and has more than 750 shares, says: “Found this pup lying on the side road in # brierley He was hit by a car in a hit and run incident. I took him to the vet he is not chipped I know someone is looking for him. Please bump this post to help me find the owner. [sic]”

A reverse image search shows that the photo comes from a blog post [warning: graphic images] published in September 2022 by someone whose Great Dane underwent surgery. It appears on a website about the dog breed, which appears to be based in the US.

The post also has very similar phrasing to other posts about supposedly injured pets that Full Fact has checked previously. They often say that a dog has been injured in a hit and run, found at the side of a road, is not chipped and that help is needed to “bump” the post to find the owner. Similar phrasing has also been used in hoax posts about missing elderly people and abandoned babies.

We’ve seen hoax posts like these being edited later to offer cheap housing, links to surveys or other freebies. 

This behaviour means that local groups may become overwhelmed with false information and that people genuinely trying to look for missing loved ones could get ignored or even 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 Tony Webster

Correction 3 August 2023

This article has been corrected due to an error meaning the wrong text appeared in the “what was claimed” box instead of the Facebook post’s actual claim.

Full Fact fights bad information

Bad information ruins lives. It promotes hate, damages people’s health, and hurts democracy. You deserve better.