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Photo of dog's taped muzzle sets off Web frenzy; police investigating

Photo of dog's taped muzzle sets off Web frenzy; police investigating
This photo posted to a Facebook page sparked hundreds of calls to police. (South Daytona Police Department)

A photo posted to Facebook of a dog with its muzzle taped shut has gained worldwide attention and created a social media frenzy.

The photo with the caption "This is what happens when you don't shut up!!!" was posted to a Facebook page belonging to a woman named Katie Brown, who according to her page lives in South Daytona, Fla.

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Brown's post has been shared hundreds of thousands times since it was added to her page Friday morning.

The South Daytona Police Department was flooded with calls from around the state, country and world including from people in Canada, Germany and Australia, which spurred them to investigate the case.

Police learned the woman was out of state with the dog when the photo was posted.

"Police will be contacting this person once she returns to our city," police posted on the City's Facebook page. "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."

Police are now asking people to stop calling, sending emails and Facebook messages because their system was overwhelmed.

"Our email server has gone down, our station computers have gone down and our phone lines are having issues due to all the attention," said South Daytona Lt. Daniel Dietrich on Saturday.

Upon reading that the woman hadn't been found, activists on social media then took it upon themselves to continue investigating, which led to a hunt stretching from Florida to Connecticut.

Soon tips started rolling in to police in South Daytona that the woman could be in Connecticut.

Calls then began pouring in to agencies there, including the Emergency Animal Response Service (EARS) with tips about the woman's whereabouts.

"It has amazed us at how quickly this story is spreading and how many people are aware of it," said Jon Nowinski, director of operations at EARS. "It's great to know there are so many who care about the welfare of animals in situations like these. It's important people know their voices are heard and make a difference."

Nowinski said his office received 70 calls within a few hours with tips about possible locations where she could be in the northwest area of the state in Litchfield County and was working with law enforcement to locate her.

"Her residence is listed as Florida, but apparently she has family here and that's why it is believed she may have been in our state … ,"  he said. "She apparently has family in Avon and Torrington and recently posted things from that area."

Brown posted again to her Facebook page shortly after people began to comment on the photo: "I can't lie. I did it for sixty seconds. It was time out and no more barking."

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Then after the post garnered more attention she posted again.

"Don't panic everyone it was only for a minute but [the dog] hasn't barked since... POINT MADE!!!" the post read.

Dietrich said officers checked the woman's South Daytona home and spoke to her son.

"He said the dogs are in good health and cared for," Dietrich said. "We will follow up when she returns."

Brown couldn't be reached for comment.

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