Duct Tape Dog: Guilty Owner Claims She Is A Good Person
A so-called “duct tape” dog joke led to a guilty verdict – it is safe to say the cruel dog owner is no longer laughing. Kimberly Ann Howell, the woman, who shared three pictures of her dog, Leah, with her mouth shut with duct tape, was sentenced by a North Carolina judge to 45 days of suspended sentence, 18 months of probation, and she must complete 36 hours of community service.
Kimberly Ann Howell is guilty and cruel for shutting her dog’s mouth with duct tape, according to a North Carolina judge. On Thursday, Howell stood in front of Judge Kevin Eddinger, who threw the book at her for the “callous act” she committed against her young mixed breed dog, named Leah.
Howell, who used duct tape to shut the dog’s mouth, and had the “brilliant” idea to share the pictures of her stupid prank on Facebook, was declared guilty on charges of animal cruelty and failure to appear for outstanding traffic charges. Her punishment?
Howell was given 45 days suspended sentence – which means that while she was convicted of the crimes, she will not have to serve that sentence immediately and may never have to serve it at all if she respects the conditions put in place by the judge.
The so-called animal lover, who was out of jail on $3,000 bond, will be on probation for 18 months and has been assigned to 36 hours of community service. The dog owner, who had plans to appeal the ruling, changed her mind and has accepted her fate, and she has even requested to work at Animal Control for 18 months.
Leah’s owner became infamous in early October after she took to Facebook and shared the much talked about prank photos. The mother of one uploaded three pictures of her dog with her mouth duct taped and revealed that it was funny to see the animal go through that predicament. In one picture, she used the caption “LOL” while in an another she explained why she felt compel to use the tape. She wrote:
“I warned her. I told her I was going to teach her not to bite the baby again even play biting.”
Someone, who saw the pictures and recognized Howell, contacted the authorities and she was arrested. Howell told investigators that she did it because her dog was barking and had tried to bite her seven-month-old daughter. She went on to explain the animal was not hurt because after five minutes she had managed to remove the tape on her own. She said:
“It didn’t hurt her, she just didn’t like it, it was not a big deal, the dog was not physically hurt.”
Detective R.C. Barkley told the judge that while he was interrogating Howell and her boyfriend, John, they both said they decided to put the duct tape on the dog’s mouth because “it would be funny.” In court, Howell told the judge that she loved the dog as much as she loved her own child and when asked if she would do the same to her baby – she declined to reply.
After the pictures had gone viral, Howell returned to Facebook where she got into several fights with people, who slammed her for abusing the dog. She blasted one commentator by saying:
“Wow ok maybe I should of said I was joking when posting that. But honestly though people would know better anyone who spend a week at my house would see how spoiled and loved my dog is. Anyways guess I really didn’t think through but anyone who knows me knows when I got Leah she [was] skin and bones how ) that animal abusee.”
She later returned to the site with a lengthy post to lament the fact that she is a good person, who made a mistake. She also shared that since that day she found the dog locked up in a cage, she has cared and loved her. She also made it clear that she is not an animal abuser, and she is just a silly woman with a weird sense of humor. Her post read:
“I have made my mistakes in life too and believe me either I’ve paid for them or am still paying for them. But to call me an animal abuser or child abuser that’s so not true.”
“Lesson learned and lesson learned that people are going to assume what thy want about you. Even if they have never met you. Anyone who knows me knows I am a nice and very forgiving person so to all th people saying things about me and u don’t even know me I forgive. I’m just almost at the point in tears that people are so mean. And I respect that people are serious about animal abuse, they should be. But I would never abuse my dog. Sad part is people who have never met us are saying different but my dog as happy and playful as can be. I never dreamed human beings could be so cruel and put people they have never met down. My dog is past the point of thinking she is a dog though she goes outside to excessive and use the bathroom that’s it other then that she stays inside with us following all day long she refuses to be left out and makes it a point that she should be apart of every moment of everyday if it’s just eating lunch or dinner or taking a nap on the bed with us.”
Howell’s boyfriend came to her defense by blaming the Internet for taking an innocent joke and turning it into a crime. He wrote on Facebook:
“The dog is in perfect health, I mean there’s nothing, as you can see she’s far from abused, I’m an avid animal lover and I’ve had 10-12 rescue dogs over the last couple years. There was a lot of backlash out of this, people took it out of context, I mean it was a bad decision on her part, she shouldn’t have posted it, the tape wasn’t on.”
Earlier this month, another North Carolina woman named Katharine F. Lemansky also posted photos showing her chocolate lab-mix dog’s mouth duct taped shut, and she too has been charged with animal cruelty. Lemansky faces a fine and a possible jail sentence of up to 150 days.