Duct tape dog owner guilty: Duct Tape Dog Guilty

Published: December 4, 2015

Duct tape dog owner guilty: Duct Tape Dog Guilty, A Rowan County woman who sparked outrage when she posted pictures on Facebook of her dog with its mouth shut by duct tape was found guilty of animal cruelty in court Thursday.
Kimberly Ann Howell, 25, of Long Ferry Road, was charged in early October and was out of jail on $3,000 bond on the animal cruelty charge and failure to appear for outstanding traffic charges.

She was sentenced in court to 45 days suspended sentence, 18 months of probation. The judge also assigned 36 hours of community service and said that he would prefer if she did that part of the sentence at Animal Control. Her lawyer first said they would appeal the ruling, but Howell withdrew the appeal, saying, “I’ll take it.”

Investigators say someone saw the pictures of the young mixed breed dog, named Leah, with her mouth taped shut on Howell’s Facebook page with the caption “LOL.” The pictures were reported to the Rowan Sheriff’s Office.

Howell told investigators that she did it because her dog was barking, but WBTV obtained a screenshot of the original post with the photos.

“I warned her,” Howell wrote with the photos. “I told her I was going to teach her not to bite the baby again even play biting.”

Howell said she couldn’t even keep the tape on the dog for five minutes.

Detective R.C. Barkley began an investigation. According to the report, when detectives visited Howell’s home they were met by her boyfriend who said that he knew it wasn’t a good idea to tape the dog’s mouth shut.

Howell told investigators that it was not “a big deal,” and that the dog “was not physically hurt.”

Howell said that she removed the tape immediately after posting the pictures.

In court on Thursday, Detective Barkley said that Howell and her boyfriend both said at the time that Howell put the duct tape on the dog’s mouth because Howell “thought it would be funny.”

Barkley also said that there were two additional pictures taken by Howell that were not posted on Facebook. Those pictures showed Howell’s seven month old daughter petting the dog while the dog’s mouth was duct taped.

“It didn’t hurt her, she just didn’t like it,” Howell said in court.

Judge Kevin Eddinger called it a “callous act.”

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