Facebook post appealing to find missing dog’s owner is a hoax

31 March 2023
What was claimed

A photograph shows a lost dog that has been found near Bournemouth.

Our verdict

The post is not genuine. The photo comes from a genuine post about a lost dog being found in Australia in January.

A post on Facebook claims a lost dog has been found and appeals for help finding its owner. But this post is a hoax.

The post, which appears on a community group for Christchurch and Bournemouth businesses, says: “We found this sweet girl by our gate. We just got her checked at a vet she's not microchipped. She definitely misses her family I fed her and I will continue feeding until I find the owner please help me find the owner. BUMP THIS POST. [sic]”

This is not a real appeal for help. 

A reverse google search found that the photo used in the post comes from a genuine post about a lost dog being returned to its owners that was posted in a “lost pets” group in Australia in January. Another version of this hoax, with almost identical text, also appeared in a community group in Middletown, US.

Full Fact has previously written about a post with very similar wording that appeared in groups in Ontario and Alberta, Canada, on the same day as Derbyshire, UK. 

We have also fact checked many posts that make false claims about lost puppies, missing children and pensioners, and abandoned babies

The motivation behind these false posts isn’t always clear, but we’ve seen a number of cases where they were edited after reaching a large number of people in order to advertise housing or survey websites. 

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 Chris Barbara ARPS

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