Kimberly Howell received a suspended sentence on Thursday, according to WSOC. She had been arrested in October, 2015, after she posted pictures of her dog on Facebook with a caption of “hah hah”, showing her dog with its mouth duct-taped shut, according to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina.
The Sheriff’s Office had received reports that Howell had done this because she was upset that the dog was barking too much. Reportedly, Howell, of Salisbury, said she thought it would be funny to wrap the tape around her dog’s mouth and take five photos, claiming she only left it on “long enough to take the picture, and then removed it.” Officials told her that her actions were unacceptable, and, at that time, she was arrested on a misdemeanor cruelty to animals charge, with a $2,000 bond.
Just as in the recent case of Katharine Lemansky, AKA Katie Brown, followed in detail here by this Examiner, Howell’s dog was left in her custody, since there were no apparent injuries or signs of neglect or mistreatment, angering many animal advocates. When she faced the judge on December 3, Howell was found guilty on the animal cruelty charge, but received a suspended sentence. She will also have to do community service at an animal shelter. The investigator in the case, Ryan Barkley, stated, “Howell told him she knew the dog didn’t like the tape being on its mouth because it was lying down and pawing at her.”
What animal advocates fear are even more copycat cases like these. A Wyoming woman, Attisyn Chadwick, posted a video on Facebook with her dogs muzzle taped up, stating she did it in defense of Brown, to show everyone that tape could be removed without hurting a dog. She quickly regretted that decision, removing the video and putting up a video apology, after receiving a number of threats. In addition, Chadwick was issued a citation for animal cruelty and has a summons to appear in court. Katie Brown’s case is scheduled to go before a judge on December 14 in North Carolina. She currently faces a Class 1 Misdemeanor Cruelty to Animals charge in Cary, NC. South Daytona police diligently pursued Brown’s case. Should she return to Florida, animal services is authorized to confiscate Brown’s dog