This article has been copied to a new home. It was written in April 2013.
Messages are circulating the Internet that claim that an individual named Dell Schanze, is looking for dogs to recruit for dog fighting.
When this message first circulated during April 2013, it was the latest in a string of dog fighting hoaxes to spread. Several other individuals have been alleged to have been responsible for running or supporting illegal dog fighting operations during both 2012 and 2013. Many of those people had both their names and photos included with the accusation. Many of such rumours turned out to be based on false information.
In this case, Dell Schanze is a real person, hailing from Salt Lake City in Utah, and has recently been the centre of controversy after he was alleged to have chased and kicked an owl during a paragliding excursion. Dell, who previously operating now defunct computer company “Totally Awesome Computers”, has been in trouble with the law before after jumping from a tower in Oregon in a paraglider, which led to his arrest. Dell, also known as SuperDell, also ran for Utah state governor, and has been known to create and run several controversial TV commercials.
However we have been unable to find any evidence or sources to support the claim that he has anything to do with dog fighting. Given the controversial nature of Schanze, it is entirely possible that this could be linked to some sort of negative campaign started by his critics. It seems even less likely to be true given the surplus of very similar rumours that have circulated recently.
Also the claim in the message that it should be spread because “we need to catch him” seems redundant since the police are aware of who he is and there are no reports suggesting that he is running or trying to evade capture from the authorities.
Given that the rumour fails to provide any evidence that it may be true, we recommend not circulating the message. People who involve themselves in circulating content that identifies and condemns individuals without evidence are simply engaging in “Trial by Social Media” which is essentially ill-advised online witch hunting. Click here to learn more about the dangers on online social media witchhunts.