Facebook threat to dog goes viral, prompts investigation
Heather Jacobs said her nine-month-old Blue Heeler named Diesel is "...really is a loveable dog. He is a huge lap dog."
But when Jacobs talked with Eyewitness News about Diesel, she didn't want her face on camera. That's because she said she'd been the target of death threats after a recent Facebook post.
In the post, Jacobs threatened to shoot Diesel because he got aggressive with her. "I was mad. I was upset," she said. "I just don't understand why he did that."
"I messed up. I apologize. I said it out of anger and I did not mean it," she added.
That didn't matter, though. Jacob's post went viral and sparked outrage, concern for Diesel and an investigation by the Decatur County Sheriff's Department.
"Folks as far away as California, Canada, and Australia were concerned about it," explained Lieutenant Robert Duckworth with the Sheriffs Department, who said people "contacted our agency not wishing any harm to come to an animal."
Jacobs did not face any charges because nothing happened to Diesel. An officer with Decatur County Animal Control told Eyewitness News that, by law, Diesel would be considered personal property and people in Indiana are free to do what they want with their property, even an animal, as long as the animal doesn't suffer.
"In the state of Indiana, here in Decatur County, we look for abuse, neglect, maltreatment or any of those other types of action leading up to those events," said Duckworth, addressing whether someone could be charged with animal cruelty for shooting their pet.
Jacobs said Diesel is well-cared-for and she has no plans to give him up or hurt him.
"I just want 'em to know, I did not mean it. I really am truly sorry. I am an animal lover," she added, explaining she used to show goats in 4H.
Jacobs said she's also learned firsthand how powerful social media can be.
"I have learned my lesson, though. I really have," she said.
For Jacobs, that means the next time, she will think before she posts a message in anger.