A man in the US has been charged by police after a photo was circulated on Facebook which appeared to show him dangling a dog out of the window instead of taking it for a walk.
A woman passing by confronted Tyler Smith, 23, who reportedly said he was letting the dog down to go to the toilet and that it was raining too hard for him to take it outside himself.
When Mr Smith added that “it was his dog, he could do what he wanted”, she took a picture of what he was doing, “called the authorities” and posted it online.
The alleged incident, in a wealthy area of Greenville, South Carolina, caught the attention of Heather Vincelette, who has mutual friends with the woman on the social media website.
Ms Vincelette began circulating the image on the Facebook pages of local animal services agencies, as well as the Greenville Police Department, and quickly whipped up something of a social media storm.
“Within 24 hours it had about 600 shares, had 300 comments. It kind of took off on its own,” Ms Vincelette told local news station WYFF News 4.
Greenville police said Mr Smith has now been charged with violating the city’s animal care laws, and could face fines of up to $1,000 and 30 days in prison.
Officer Johnathan Bragg told WYFF News 4: “This past Saturday when it was raining, we got a few messages on Facebook stating that this dog was being let over the balcony with a leash.”
Neighbours told the news station that the dog, named Max, belongs to Mr Smith’s parents and is often seen being walked by its owners. Mr Smith was reported to be have been looking after the dog while his parents were away.