Nails in Pieces of Cheese Found in Dog Parks? - Internet/Facebook Rumour
Other Keywords: Nails in Meat, Sausages and Fish
New trend at dog parks, nails in pieces of cheese, if you take your dogs to dog parks, please be careful!!
This story and picture which has started to circulate through social networking sites Tumblr and Facebook purports that a new trend at dog parks is for certain individuals to put nails in pieces of cheese in dog parks to presumably cause injury to innocent dogs looking for a free treat.
(other variants claim nails have been found in meat and sausages. Details on these cases can be seen below)
This message has actually derived from an apparently true incident that occurred in Buenos Aires where popular online interest site www.perfil.com (published by Editorial Perfil) picked up on the story, using the same photograph currently being circulated by social network users. You can read the story on the site here. Though it is in Spanish, it essentially tells the story of how a dog walker in Centennial Park (a large public park on the outskirts of the nations captial) found dog treats littered in a nearby kennel all laced with filed nails.
The event, which judging by the date of the article occurred in July 2011, was not picked up by mainstream media and more importantly, after research on the Internet, we were unable to find any other stories relating to the message (other than other isolated incidents not directly related to the above message) thus making it unlikely that this is a "trend" - rather an apparently isolated incident years ago.
We have found a handful of incidents similar to this story that have happened in the last few years (some of which are detailed below) but in all cases the incidents were isolated with no evidence of a criminal trend.
In cases like this it is recommended to refer to local news articles or local authority announcements to keep up-to-date and share such articles/announcements with your local friends if necessary. Sharing generic, location-less warnings like the ones above is counterproductive and ultimately unhelpful.
January 2013 saw meat and fish laced with needles left in a neighbourhood in Canton, Michigan, resulting in two dogs undergoing surgery to remove needles, though no duplicate cases were since reported.
January 2013 saw cocktail sausages laced with nails lefts in dog walking areas in Abergavenny, Wales.
Police reported of finding around 40 sausages and warned dog walkers in the area. However no further reports have surfaced from the area and no other similar incidents were reported elsewhere.
The Internet, and social networking sites like Facebook, are perfect platforms for spreading untruths, misinformation, rumor and propaganda. Thousands of inaccurate, exaggerated, deceptive or just plain false messages are circulated every single day.
For the anti-scam community to successfully tackle this plethora of false rumours, it is important that anyone who uses the Internet be able to identify false rumours and fully understands the possible consequences of spreading false information.
We have a two part blog post that helps provide this information. Part 1 deals with how to spot and debunk Internet rumours and Part 2 deals with the reasons why you should never circulate false information.
Additionally if you have fallen for this rumour or have Facebook friends that have, you can join our growing Facebook page here.