Jade the staffy was the subject of a social media whirlwind in Shepparton last week, with an expert urging people to check facts.By Riahn Smith
A dog at the centre of a social media frenzy about its welfare has been given a clean bill of health and reunited with its owners.
In a statement issued to The News on Friday, Greater Shepparton City Council said four-year-old Staffordshire bull terrier Jade was to be returned to the care of her owners after a 13-day stay at the council’s animal shelter.
Homeless Hounds Rescue Victoria’s Facebook page was flooded with almost 400 comments after the animal rescue group posted a picture of the dog on the social networking site on Thursday last week.
It was alleged the council was refusing to work with rescue organisations to rehome the dog and that she was due to be euthanised within 24 hours.
It also raised concerns about an apparent injury to the dog’s left eye.
But Shepparton Veterinary Clinic director Dr Rob Bonnano said the dog had received two veterinary assessments during her stay at the shelter and he was satisfied she was in no pain.
‘‘Jade’s eye condition is a result of an injury that occurred a long time ago. It is past being painful, there is no tenderness, therefore there was no need for any pain management or ongoing treatment as the dog is not suffering,’’ Dr Bonnano said
‘‘It’s not a healthy eye, but it’s not painful.’’
A council spokeswoman said it was unclear why the dog had attracted so much attention as a candidate for rehoming when it was listed on the council’s website as ‘‘missing/lost’’.
The spokeswoman said the dog had remained at the pound for longer than the mandated eight-day period while community rangers organised her return to her owners.
The dog had not been at risk of being put down.
She said it appeared some of the contact details registered on the microchip had not been updated which caused a delay in the reunification process.
Take care with social media comments, expert urges
Social media users are being urged to exercise caution when engaging in online discussion.
Melbourne-based cyber safety expert Susan McLean said it was important for people using social-networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter to check their facts before posting comments.
‘‘When you’re dealing with the internet the truth doesn’t always come through and people jump to conclusions,’’ Ms McLean said.
‘‘There’s some great uses of social media, but the problem is it gets out of hand very, very easily.’’
Making direct reference to last week’s Homeless Hounds and Greater Shepparton City Council animal shelter issue, Ms McLean said the internet was not an appropriate place to air such concerns.
‘‘The internet is not the right forum for this sort of stuff. As you can see, it gets out of control,’’ she said.
‘‘I’m sure the intention initially was well-meaning, but the problem was that photo is a photo, it doesn’t always reflect the reality.’’
She said users should read all previous comments to ensure they were fully aware of the context before entering into the discussion.
She also encouraged organisations and individuals to monitor and vet the content posted on their site to minimise potentially harmful comments.
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