Photo prompts outrage, death threats from animal lovers
After a photo of a fatally wounded pit bull terrier went viral, the Cherokee County sheriff's office is investigating the incident and the subsequent death threats from animal lovers, Undersheriff Jason Chennault said.
TAHLEQUAH — All it took was a few clicks on Facebook for 18-year-old Caisen Green to become famous for all the wrong reasons and to prompt the outrage and disgust of animal lovers far and wide.
Green posted a photo of a fatally wounded pit bull terrier with an arrow sticking out of its gut with the caption, “For all you Pit lovers out there. Here's what happens when one shows up around my house.”
On Feb. 15 the photo went viral and was shared on Facebook pages and posted on the photo sharing website Imgur.
An online petition urging Cherokee County authorities to arrest Green on animal cruelty complaints appeared a few days later.
Cherokee County Undersheriff Jason Chennault said a deputy saw the photo published on a Facebook page Feb. 16, and the office received multiple calls about it from people both in and outside of the United States.
Chennault said the Green family received hundreds of threats on the Internet, so Green deactivated his Facebook account. The family left the county for a few days after their address circulated on the Internet, he said.
Threats included lynching Green and laughing as he died or choking and stabbing him to death, said Jack Thorp, first assistant district attorney in Cherokee County.
“Reading some of that is shocking,” Thorp said.
Matthew Maestas, Tahlequah resident and creator of the online petition, said it was after he saw the death threats on a Facebook page that he decided to start the petition.
“Like a whole lot of other people, I'm upset about it and I don't want to see it be brushed aside because it was a stray dog killed,” Maestas said.
In an interview Tuesday, Green told Chennault that two stray dogs — one pit bull and one smaller, non-pit bull dog — wandered onto his family's property while he was practicing with his bow and arrow, the undersheriff said.
Green told Chennault the dogs looked diseased and he charged the dogs to make them run away. The smaller dog ran, but the pit bull charged, Green said.
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