Monday, July 09, 2012

Craigslist Pet Killer Flier a Hoax?

There has been skepticism from the start about the graphic flying around Facebook and craigslist, created by Salem Friends of Felines, about a group acquiring free pets on craigslist then taking them out beyond Scotts Mills to use as target practice.

The story is a vet clinic was called anonymously by someone to report the incident, but no further details have been forthcoming.  I've not heard the name of the vet clinic that was called, in any news reporting on this.  Nor has it been disclosed if that clinic is who called the sheriff's office resulting in a case number being assigned to this case of alleged animal abuse (which is true, there is a case number, but no first party evidence).

When I first saw the flier, I e-mailed the Marian County sheriff's office to find out if it is a hoax.  A deputy called me back and assured me it was not, but I'm not sure he knew what I was asking.  What I really wanted to know is if the sheriff's office were indeed contacted by a vet clinic who had received an anonymous call, to the effect of the one described in the Salem Friends of Felines graphic.

I did not get an answer to that question.

Shoddy TV reporting has made matters worse.  KGW reported that there were even photos of the crimes being posted on social media, and yet I've never seen mention of those photos and neither, apparently, has the sheriff's office.  Or they're not telling.  Where did KGW get that info?

Tonight, a news station reported the graphic may be a hoax perpetrated by animal rights activists trying to keep people from giving away free pets on craigslist, due to the dangers.  They didn't mention the vet clinic call or try to track down that vet clinic.  Nor did their shallow reporting even discover the graphic originated with Salem Friends of Felines and contact them for comment.

It's really rather funny, not if it turns out not to be a hoax, but if it is, all the shoddy reporting and rumor spreading. It's kind of scary too.  All a reporter might do, to clear this up, is go to Salem Friends of Felines, locate the person who created the graphic and ask them for their source, the vet clinic, then go talk to them, maybe even get their phone records and if there indeed was a caller, track down that caller via the phone record from the phone company. 

I was bummed to see that graphic.  "More animal abuse," I thought.  I wanted to go find the location and try to find the two cats who got away, as described in the flier, thought seriously of going up there alone to try to find those cats.  I also contacted people who had adopted pets from me recently, in a worry.  It isn't funny, in other words, if it is a hoax.  It's mean.

Here is what Salem Friends of Felines says on their FB page:

Salem Friends of Felines It is real. The case number is 12-11758. It is NOT a hoax. An SFoF volunteer created the graphic, not with the intent to start a rumor, but with the intent to get the word out. The call was real, the witness called a local, reputable veterinary office for advice. The local news won't cover it without more details and the case can't go anywhere unless the witness comes forward to the police or another incident happens up there. Please stop saying it's a hoax, it's real. The best way to stop them is to NOT give away animals for free on craigslist and DO perform home checks if you do use craigslist to rehome a pet.
Yesterday at 1:06pm via mobile · · 1

 Salem Friends of Felines is an up front hard working group of unpaid people, so I cannot for the life of me imagine them making this up from thin air.  I just can't.  I could be wrong.

Animal people are so used to law enforcement turning a blind eye to animal abuse, in many areas, it seems credible that a witness would not necessarily call the police first.  I never expect the law do a darn thing around here if cats are abused or abandoned, for instance.  I've given up on that.

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