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The Scoop 2-26
Animal issues stir emotions
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Former County Executive John Pelham knows as well as anyone how people can lose their cool when the well-being of animals is in question.It was back in August 2010 when Pelham was receiving hate mail and death threats because a picture of Warren County Animal Control posted on Facebook showed newborn puppies in a drainage line that was partially filled with sewage.In addition to the picture, the Facebook page run by an animal rescue group contained false information and misquoted a county official as saying “the only job Animal Control should be doing is killing homeless pets.”The backlash was overwhelming.I remember talking to irate residents across the nation who called the newspaper office demanding to know what kind of sick people live here in Warren County. I’m not exactly sure why, but those phone calls were always transferred to me.U.S. Animal Protection based in New Orleans contacted our Sheriff’s Department in the course of conducting an investigation. The TBI was also involved, all because this one picture and the Facebook lies which went along with it.It gave Warren County government its first taste of how the Internet can be a breeding ground for misinformation.“When you can get on the Internet and write anything you want to about somebody, whether it’s true or not, that concerns me,” said Pelham in a story published in the Aug. 4, 2010 edition of the Standard.We all realize this now, but we were still feeling our way through this newfangled Facebook thing six years ago.