Description: Viral image
Circulating since: Aug. 2012
Status: False / Misleading
Analysis: This image prompted a great deal of outrage when it was originally posted and shared on Facebook in August 2012, and again when it made the rounds in September 2013, and on-and-off ever since.
Appearances can be deceiving, however. It does indeed look like the man in the photo, one Alex Barker of Barrie, Ontario, is pouring vodka down a puppy's throat — but in reality, the bottle was capped and the two were playing a friendly game of tug-of-war.
These facts were confirmed by Constable Jon Barnes of the Barrie Police Service, who personally investigated the incident and determined, among other things, that the vodka bottle was sealed and no harm was done to the puppy, who imbibed no alcohol in the process (source: Barrie Advance, Aug. 14, 2012).
This explanation and apology was later posted online by Mr. Barker:
alex here, the one who posted the photo
i deeply apologize for the offensive nature and content but the reality is THE DOG IS NOT CONSUMING ALCOHOL NOR WAS HE IN ANY SORT OF DISTRESS. the lid was most definitly on the bottle. i do agree and in retrospect i regret taking the photo, it is disgusting and probably the stupidest thing i have ever been apart of.
i deeply apologize
i would NEVER put an animal of any sort in harms way. i am not a cruel person.
the puppy was playing with the tops of the bottles and chewing at them so it just seemed like a photo for a laugh or two, that is of course not the case. i have removed the photo completely, i can and will include a photo minutes before that one was taken on the puppy in my arms.
i hope my apology can be accepted, even though im most certainly sure it wont be, i have no way of escaping this now that it has been blown in that direction, i deserve every shot taken at me and i once more will apologize.
Let's take him at his word and stop sharing this misleading photo.
• Slideshow: An Internet Bestiary
• Is This the World's Biggest Dog?
• Photos: Tiger Mom Adopts Piglets
• A Classic Urban Legend: The Microwaved Pet
• Richard Gere and the Gerbil
• Yikes! Spiders Can Fly!
Sources and further reading:
Press Release: Barrie Police Service
Barrie Police Service, 13 August 2012
Puppy Unharmed in Vodka Picture Prank
Barrie Advance, 14 August 2012
Threats After Vodka Puppy Prank Picture Goes Viral
The Spirits Business, 15 August 2012
Alex Barker Learns the Impact of Facebook & Social Media
CornwallFreeNews.com, 17 August 2012
Last updated 01/30/14