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Facebook photo of children hanging dog upside down leads to cruelty charges

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A Bay County, Florida area Facebook photo showing two young girls hanging a small terrier breed dog upside down with a rope may lead to animal cruelty charges for the grandmother of the children reported Thursday's wjhg.com news.

The mother of the children told Springfield Police officers the girls were not trying to hurt the dog named Charlie; in fact she contended they were playing "animal rescue" and fashioned the scene after an episode of Animal Planet's "Call of the Wild" where a dog was saved from a deep hole by tying it around the middle with a rope and hoisting it up.

"Mom posted the kids were playing animal rescue. They had seen it on TV. It wasn't intentionally trying to harm the dog in any way. But my mom posted it on Facebook and a whole lot of people took it the wrong way and it wasn't meant to be like that," explained Katie of her mother, Retta Bozeman's photo.

The Facebook photo outraged viewers when it appeared on Facebook and animal lovers started calling the Bay County Animal Control. When Animal Control officers saw the photo, they called the Springfield Police Department. Chief of Police, Phillip Thorne stated officers responded immediately and in conjunction with Animal Control removed Charlie and another dog from the residence.

Authorities were concerned with death threats the family had received.

"They were talking about killing my kids and my mother and shooting them in the face and my mom get a lot of messages threatening to kill her and hanging my kids upside down and crazy stuff."

The grandmother has since apologized on Facebook. Katie says her daughters feel terrible.

The dogs are at Bay County Animal Control. A judge will decide if the family gets their dogs back next week. The dog was not injured.

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