A woman allegedly posted the photo of a dog with its mouth taped shut on Facebook.
“You can’t have an excuse for an animal abuse at all. Whether it’s just for a second or whether you were teaching a lesson or something like that. There’s just no fine line,” said Jon Nowinski, founder of the Connecticut Emergency Animal Response Service.
The non-profit organization based in Connecticut has been flooded with calls since the picture was posted Friday afternoon, and is working with several law enforcement agencies to help locate Katie Brown.
“We’ve been getting messages through or website and Facebook page because of the connection to Connecticut,” said Nowinski.
The photo was shared 375,708 times as of 12:44 p.m. Sunday, and the City of South Daytona posted a series of updates on their Facebook page thanking concerned citizens for their efforts but asking people to stop calling, as the reports were beginning to overwhelm dispatch operations.
Brown’s Facebook page lists South Daytona as her hometown, and other posts indicate she recently visited her son in Florida.
As of Sunday, the South Daytona Police Department said a family member confirmed Brown had not lived in South Daytona for about 1.5 years, although her Facebook still showed the South Daytona location. “This appears to have occurred in Avon, CT where she currently lives, although the address posted by many people is not her current address. SDPD investigator is turning this case over to Avon authorities.”
But Avon police have said they determined the woman does not live in Avon and referred the case back to authorities in Florida.
Police in Torrington, which has also been connected to Brown, also said they determined the incident did not occur there.
“This is one of the first cases I’m familiar with that’s happened where this has been really a cross-state issue,” said Nowinski.
Nowinski says his organization and other law enforcement agencies have have been in contact with Katie Brown’s family members.
“One of the positive things to come out of this is that the family themselves are pretty outraged about this,” he said.