A woman has drawn the wrath of thousands of animal lovers has now been arrested after she posted a photo on Facebook showing her dog with her mouth duct-taped shut.
The photo posted by Katie Brown has been shared more than 100,000 times, with angry comments flooding the social media site and her page.
Brown, 45, whose legal name is Katharine Lemansky, posted the photo just before 9 a.m. on Friday, November 27. Within hours, it was spread across Facebook by animal rights advocates, and was reported to police.
She was arrested Monday, November 30, in Cary, North Carolina, after she told police the incident occurred there. Cary Police said that Lemansky was charged with cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor that carries up to 150 days in jail and a fine if convicted. But police said they did not take her dogs away from her.
“Taping the dog’s muzzle shut was a terrible decision on Ms. Lemansky’s part, and charging her with animal cruelty under North Carolina law was the right thing to do,” said Cary Police Captain Randall Rhyne said in a press release. “At the same time, it’s important to also note that our animal control officers who physically examined both Brown and her littermate found the dogs to be very well cared for, which is why we did not and could not remove them from the owner. The dogs are current on their shots, spayed, and microchipped. They are clean and well-nourished and appear to be comfortable in their surroundings. And there were no signs of injury to Brown’s muzzle, not even detectable hair loss.”
She lists her hometown as South Daytona, Florida, on her Facebook page, and also has ties to Avon and Torrington, Connecticut, so police and animal control agencies in those three locations were inundated with calls from concerned citizens and launched investigations into the case.
She is due in court in Wake County, North Carolina, on December 14.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Brown Said ‘This Is What Happens When You Don’t Shut Up’
Katie Brown wrote with the post, “This is what happens when you dont shut up!!!”
After angry replies to her post, she said, “I cant lie i did it for sixty seconds. It was time out and no more barking.”
The name of Brown’s dog is not known.
Kimberly Ann Howell, of North Carolina, was arrested in October on a charge of cruelty to animals after police said she posted a similar photo to Facebook showing a dog with its muzzle taped shut. She also said she taped the dog’s mouth to stop it from barking, police said.
William Dodson, of South Carolina, was arrested in June after he was accused of taping his dog’s muzzle shut.
The dog in that case, Caitlyn, has made a remarkable recovery and is acting as the ambassador for the humane treatment of animals for the Charleston Animal Society. Read more about her here. Dodson remains in custody and is awaiting trial.
2. She Said the Punishment Proved Her Point After the Dog Stopped Barking
Brown later made a second post to Facebook after she continued to receive angry messages.
“Dont panic everyone it was only for a minute but hasnt barked since… POINT MADE!!!,” she wrote.
She also wrote, “Really people… Some dogs need a muzzle so they dont bite someones child!!!”
The posts remain up on her page.
Brown posted again Saturday morning, not seeming to realize how far the story has spread.
“I dont know what asshole did thr bullshit of posting my truck on line…. When i figure it out you are done!!!!,” Brown wrote.
The photos and posts were later deleted.
3. She Has Several Photos on Her Facebook Page With the Dog & Other Pets
Brown’s Facebook page is filled with posts with the dog, along with other pets, including at least one other dog, and cats.
On November 18, she posted a photo of the dog and a cat sleeping, writing, “Thank goodness nap time.”
She recently put another dog to sleep, posting on October 18, “Well this day officially sucks i have to put my dog to sleep this morning. Rest on peace Sampson we love you but you get to be with Gramma De and Doug.”
4. Her Family Says She Was Making a Bad Joke
South Daytona Police Lieutenant Daniel Dietrich told the Orlando Sentinel police went to the Florida home where she has been staying and spoke to her son.
“He said the dogs are in good health and cared for. We will follow up when she returns,” he told the newspaper.
According to the Daytona Beach News-Journal , Dietrich said at a press conference that Brown has not lived in South Daytona for a year and a half, and the dog has never lived in the city. He said they believe she lives in Avon, Connecticut, and the department there will be responsible for the investigation.
But Avon police told Heavy.com that’s not the case, and they have completed their investigation, determining she does not live in Avon. They say Florida authorities are still leading the investigation.
Dietrich told reporters that family members they’ve spoken to say Brown is “scared” and has turned her phone off after receiving threats. They said she is known for making “bad jokes” and believe that’s what this was.
Animal control in Torrington, Connecticut, a city that Brown has also been connected to, posted on Facebook, “Thank you everyone for sending us info and links to help the Chocolate Lab. We are actively investigating this case and searching for the individual involved.”
Torrington Police said they are also aware of the post, but said the incident did not appear in its jurisdiction:
In regards to the dog that was photographed with it’s snout duct taped shut, the Torrington Police would like everyone to know that this incident did not happen within city limits. You are reminded that people post thinks without all the facts and not everything posted on the internet is necessarily true/accurate. The Daytona FL Animal Control office is investigating the incident and are the primary investigators. We appreciate everyone’s concerns and we take things such as this seriously. We are working with the Daytona office in this investigation and any further information can be given to us at 860-489-2000. We also remind our followers that Facebook is only for information and any crimes such as this need to be reported at the above number so that it gets handled properly, professionally and in a timely manner.
The Daytona Beach News-Journal, local TV stations and officials said they received hundreds of calls about the Facebook post.
“Wow. Love the outpouring of concern for the dog shown in disturbing Facebook posting. Thank you. Good people with good hearts want to help. SDPD is currently investigating. We have been overwhelmed with messages and emails. You can help us out by not sending further messages. Will update when we have information,” the city of South Daytona posted on its Facebook page.
The Volusia County Animal Services office also said on its Facebook page it has received hundreds of calls. It said that South Daytona Animal Control officers are investigating.
The News-Journal said it received more than 600 calls and emails from around the world.
The city of South Daytona posted an update Saturday morning, “Police have determined that this person was out of state for the holiday weekend. It appears that the photo was taken at that location. We have information to indicate that the dog is OK at this time. However, the police will be contacting this person once she returns to our City. Rest assured that a full investigation will be done and appropriate action will be taken. Again, thank you for the outpouring of concern and sharing of information.”
More than a hundred comments were made to that post within an hour, with many asking why police have not arrested Brown.
The Connecticut Humane Society said, “authorities in South Daytona Beach Florida as well as Avon, Simsbury and Torrington Ct. have all been made aware of this sick minded individual that posted this picture and comment.”
5. She Says She Is ‘Self-Employed’ & Went to Central Connecticut State University
According to her Facebook page, Brown is “self-employed” and living in South Daytona. She says she went to Central Connecticut State University.
She posted in early November to say that she was in Florida living with her son.
Brown also has ties to Torrington. She went to Avon High School in Connecticut. Her address, phone number and other details have been posted online. Brown has also gone by the names Katherine Lemansky and Katherine Plati, according to public records.
She was convicted of second-degree breach of peace in Connecticut in August, stemming from a May arrest, court records show.
Her Facebook page lists her hometown as South Daytona, Florida, but according to other posts on her page and multiple sources, she has also lived in Avon, Connecticut. She has recently been visiting her son in Florida.