Dan Tillery is a dog lover. He had always wanted to adopt a dog, and when he finally did, he did what every other person who is excited about their new pet does: he uploaded a photo to social media.
But while the expected barrage of Facebook likes and positive comments did come, some people were so disturbed by what they saw, that they just couldn’t keep going with their day
What did people see in the photo that made them call the police? And would Dan manage to keep his dog safe?
No Dogs Allowed
Dan and his girlfriend had wanted a dog for a long time. But when you’re renting an apartment, you have to respect the landlord’s rules – and their landlord did not allow animals in the house.
Happily, Dan’s career was taking off, and they could finally afford a place of their own.
“(My girlfriend and I) have been wanting a dog forever, but the place we were renting would not allow dogs,” Dan said. “We just recently purchased our first home. All ours. And dogs are allowed.”
As soon as Dan and his girlfriend moved into their house, they set out to find a dog who would complete their little family and their new home. But they didn’t hit up pet stores or new-born litters of puppies. Instead, they did the responsible thing and went to an animal shelter. There, they met and fell in love with a sweet rescue dog named, of all things, Sir Wiggleton.
Their connection was instant, and soon after, Dan brought Sir Wiggleton home.
American Bulldog in Detroit
When Dan adopted Sir Wiggleton, the American Bulldog was two years old, and was taken into the shelter after he was found roaming the streets of Detroit – close to where Dan and his girlfriend live.
Someone had found him out on the streets and reported back to the shelter, who took him in and kept him for several months – until Dan came in and adopted him for good.
Getting Diggy With it
Dan and Sir Wiggleton’s connection was instant. Even before he came into the shelter, Dan saw a photo of Sir Wiggleton on one of the shelter’s social media accounts, his tongue sticking out and his face almost unbearably cute – and he knew that Wiggleton was the dog for him.
But while Sir Wiggleton is a great gag name, it’s a little difficult to say over and over again – and so, Dan renamed him an equally cute name: Diggy!
But Dan and Diggy’s newfound friendship would soon be tested.
Taking the Net by Storm
Dan and Diggy were very happy together, and the photogenic man-dog duo took to Instagram and Facebook to share their amazing friendship. Their photos became wildly popular – and it didn’t hurt that Dan is a musician with a large online following. Dan’s fans and followers fell in love with Diggy and his kind, gentle personality, and soon people were following Dan not for his music or good looks – but for his adorable pictures of his dog.
But even with all of the positive feedback, some people noticed something in these photos that prompted them to call the local police and lodge a complaint…
The Police Get Involved
After Dan began to post photos of his dog on social media, someone called the police and lodged a complaint. What was happening?
What possible reason could anyone have for calling the cops over a cute dog and his loving owners?
Dan was, of course, very surprised to hear that a complaint had been made, but was even more bewildered when he learned the reasoning behind it.
Looking at these photos, it’s difficult to imagine what could have possibly prompted anyone to call the police after seeing them. Were there signs of abuse? Did someone recognize Dan as a criminal? Were there drugs somewhere in the background?
Nope, nope and nope.
The complaint was actually about something in plain sight, which most people would never, ever think was a problem, and which they certainly never call the police about.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
Image by @dantillery/Instagram
In the first social media post in which Dan shared his adoption of Diggy with the world, he tagged “Detroit Dog Rescue.”
Dan reasoned that he should give them credit, since they helped him find his new best friend.
He thought that if people saw how happy a rescue dog had made him, it would encourage people to go to dog shelters and adopt canine friends in need of a home.
Sadly, this well intentioned post would result in heartache and emotional pain.
Dan’s post was gaining a lot of traction online. People were loving Diggy’s adorable photos, and Detroit Rescue’s social media profile received over twenty-four thousand likes in just one day!
It wasn’t just Detroit Rescue that were feeling the love, though. Dan started to receive phone calls and emails from newspapers, websites and dog loving individuals from across the nation, all wanting to know more about him and his adorable rescue dog.
But alongside the positive feedback, some people started to write negative comments. Some were aimed at Dan, but some – surprisingly enough – were aimed at Diggy..!
The Original Post
This was Dan’s original post on Facebook – the one that went viral… and that ultimately got Dan and Diggy into trouble.
Detroit Dog Rescue wrote:
“We know this photo is going to break the internet and we apologize, but we had to share. After almost 100 days in the shelter, Sir Wiggleton just got adopted. Sir Wiggleton and his new Dad are celebrating adoption day with huge smiles all around!”
As more and more likes and shares were coming in, a looming threat to Dan and Diggy’s newfound friendship drew ever closer.
A Knock at the Door
At first, Dan was very happy about the success of his post and its going viral. He believed that it was raising awareness for an important issue, and that it was getting people talking about it. What was the downside? If there was one, Dan couldn’t see it.
But that would all change within a few days.
Soon after the post exploded on Facebook, Dan heard a knock on his door. When he answered it, imagine how surprised he was to see two police officers standing there.
Dangerous Breed… Or Is It?
For a while, it seemed like every other news item was a story about dogs attacking children. Usually, the attacks being reported were carried out by pit bulls. Some dog attacks can be debilitating – and some can even be deadly. In 2016 alone, 41 people were killed in fatal dog attacks – 22 of which were carried out by pit bulls.
But while public conception of pit bulls is that they are a vicious breed, the dogs carrying out the attacks are often dogs that have either been abused or trained as attack dogs.