From: Daily Record
SPARTA— Detectives are investigating alleged threats and harassment directed at a local family after a picture of their terminally ill dog was photographed on their property and then posted on the Internet.
The police department put out a statement Tuesday to “set the record straight” on behalf of the Amiel family, who live in the township and have been “victimized, harassed and threatened by hundreds if not thousands of social network subscribers” who apparently believe they mistreated the dog, police said.
The statement said that an 8-year-old Neapolitan mastiff owned by Roni and Elysia Amiel was diagnosed in April with terminal kidney failure.
“There were no medical options that would save the dog,” according to the statement from Sgt. John-Paul Beebe.
The family considered the dog to be a part of their family and made a decision to keep Zoey at home where the dog felt comfortable and was around people that loved her as opposed to leaving the dog in an animal hospital where there was no hope for the dog to survive, Beebe said.
The dog’s physical condition deteriorated rapidly and she had an accelerated, dramatic loss in weight, Beebe said.
On June 6, Zoey was resting on the grass next to a lake that adjoins the Amiel residence when a neighbor saw the dog, photographed it and called police who in turn dispatched the township’s animal control officer, Beebe said.
The animal control officer responded to the scene and found the dog emaciated and very weak. The dog had no collar or identification tags and the neighbor said she did not know who the dog belonged to, Beebe said.
The animal control officer took custody of the dog and took it to a local animal hospital for assessment and treatment. The dog was subsequently euthanized due to its extremely poor health and extremely weakened condition, Beebe said.
A subsequent investigation conducted by the animal control officer and ASPCA concluded that there was no abuse whatsoever by the Amiel Family and they were only trying to make Zoey as comfortable as possible in her final days at their home, Beebe said.
However, the photograph of the dog was placed on the Internet where it went viral. People in town as well as people from around the country including animal rescue groups jumped to a wrong conclusion, Beebe said.
The Amiel family has been and continues to be subjected to non stop harassment and threats on the Internet based on the misguided perception that they had abused their dog and caused it’s demise, Beebe said.
“This online harassment has caused a great deal of stress and fear in the Amiel home,” Beebe said. “The accusations that have been directed at the family are baseless in fact, harassing in nature and in some respect criminal. The Department’s Detective Bureau is currently investigating to determine if criminal charges should be filed and jurisdictional concerns that would attach.”
Read more: Daily Record