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Woman who posted photo of dog with taped mouth is charged and could get jail time

Woman who posted photo of dog with taped mouth is charged and could get jail time
This photo posted to a Facebook page sparked hundreds of calls to police. (South Daytona Police Department)

The world may now rest easy.

Police in North Carolina have charged Katharine F. Lemansky, 45, with animal cruelty after she posted a photo on Facebook of her chocolate Lab mix with its mouth taped shut with duct tape. The misdemeanor is punishable by up to 150 days in jail, a news release said.

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Officers in Cary, a town just west of Raleigh, were contacted by South Daytona, Fla., police on Monday and went to her home within an hour.

The photo went viral after it was posted Friday to her Facebook page under the name "Katie Brown." It resulted in hundreds of calls, Facebook messages and emails to the South Daytona Police Department from places as far away as Australia, causing the agency's email server and computers to crash.

The Facebook page said she lived in South Daytona, but officials said she hadn't lived there in more than a year. Tips also said she lived in Connecticut.

Lemansky later posted on Facebook that the dog's mouth was taped only for a minute.

She told police that the incident happened in Cary. It's unclear how South Daytona police tracked her to the town.

"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 Capt. Randall Rhyne.

Animal control officers examined the dog and its littermate and determined they were well cared for. There was no sign of injury to the dog's muzzle, Rhyne said.

"The dogs are current on their shots, spayed and microchipped," Rhyne said. "They are clean and well-nourished and appear to be comfortable in their surroundings."

Because animal cruelty is a misdemeanor, Lemansky was not arrested or taken to jail. She must appear in Wake County court on Dec. 14, police said.

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