These days, everyone enjoys sharing their latest happenings on social media, and when you have a cute dog, it’s only natural to want to share photos of him or her. Such was definitely the case with musician Dan Tillery and his girlfriend, Megan. They were excited to finally get the dog that they always wanted and take photos of him. However, they could not have possibly imagined what sorts of hassles and heartbreak were going to visit them over their choice to post fun photos of their dog online.
Excited To Get A Dog
Dan was your typical longtime apartment renter who was quite happy to finally be buying his own home. One major reason that he and his girlfriend were excited to buy: they could finally have a dog. Most landlords don’t allow dogs, so it was only natural that Dan and his girlfriend were excited to finally get to take one home.
Looking For The Right Dog
Like many dog lovers, Dan was quite excited when it came time to adopt a new dog. When Dan and his girlfriend moved into their new place, one of the first things that they did was search for the perfect dog to complete their little family. When they visited a shelter, they locked eyes with a dog named Sir Wiggleton.
The humorously named Sir Wiggleton was an American bulldog. He was two years old and was originally found roaming the Detroit streets before being brought to the shelter. He had been staying at the facility for a couple of months already, but when Dan and his girlfriend found him, they knew he was the one they wanted.
Happy Go Lucky
One of the things that struck Dan first about Sir Wiggleton is that he seemed to be a very happy dog. In photos, he often looked as if he was smiling broadly at the camera while sticking his tongue out. When Dan picked him up from the shelter, he gave him a new nickname that rolled off the tongue a bit better: Diggy.
Everyone likes to share the things that excite them from day to day, so you can only imagine how pumped Dan was to get on social media and share pictures of his new fur baby. Diggy was quite photogenic, so Dan naturally started sharing photos of him in all kinds of funny poses, many of which got very positive reactions.
Usually, people are excited when their photos start to get shared or go viral. However, a few of Dan’s photos with Diggy gained some notoriety and it actually led to a very bad situation. Someone called the police on Dan. But why would they do that? What about taking cute photos with a new dog would require police involvement?
Examining The Photo
Perhaps it was the photo that had something to do with the police being alerted. Still, that didn’t make sense, either. All of the photos Dan took of himself and Diggy were just of the two smiling broadly for the camera. Dog and owner alike were quite happy and nothing wrong was going on, so what was the problem?
An Unfortunate Result
It turned out that the post that attracted the wrong kind of attention was a silly photo that Dan shared with the group “Detroit Dog Rescue.” The point of the photo was to thank the organization and encourage others to use the group’s services to find their own perfect pet. Unfortunately, this kind post backfired.
Dan certainly did not expect the post to the Facebook group to gain much notoriety. However, it received about 24,000 likes in just one day, and Dan actually started getting messages and other communications from not only other dog lovers, but the media, too. Sadly, not everyone was happy for Dan and his girlfriend.
A Simple Share
After Dan shared his photo with Detroit Dog Rescue, the group shared it publicly on its page, noting that the cute photo was likely to “break the internet” because of the dog’s huge smile. However, there’s no way that the group could have expected that Dan would also get some negative attention from the photo.
Tons Of Attention
Dan had never expected to be the subject of a viral internet post, but he took it all in stride. From all kinds of shares and likes to messages from strangers and interview requests, he dealt with it all in a positive way. What he did not know how to deal with, though, was the police showing up at his door. Dan was extremely confused, of course.
A Dangerous Breed?
Before we go into the police visit, it’s important to understand that many people are quite afraid of pit bulls. This is because in many cases, dog attacks are linked to pit bulls. For whatever reason, 22 of the 41 deaths caused by fatal dog attacks in 2016 were caused by pit bulls. Controversial or not, pit bulls do provoke a certain amount of fear in people.
Impacted By Fear
This kind of fear toward pit bulls has negative consequences for responsible owners at times. Some owners have had to give up their dogs because others were scared to have pit bulls near them. Although there is no real consensus on the matter, some experts claim that the breeding history of pit bulls has led them to be more aggressive than other breeds.
The Police Explain
Back to Dan’s house for the police visit, he finally got the explanation he was looking for. The officers explained that the photo had been reported to them and they were there to enforce a law in the township he lived in. The law specifically states that residents there can’t own a pit bull or a pit bull mix. They said he’d have to return Diggy to the pound.
You Can’t Be Serious
Judging by the officers’ behavior, Dan was surprisingly at ease, as he didn’t think they would actually enforce the silly law. He even allowed the officers to meet Diggy so that they could see that he was friendly and harmless. He said the officers liked him, took photos of him, and said he seemed “like a good boy.”
Settling The Matter
That wasn’t all Dan did, though. He also showed the adoption papers from the rescue with the police, which he was sure would settle the matter for once and for all. After all, the papers stated clearly that Diggy was an American bulldog, not a pit bull. Sadly, this would not be the end of the trouble for Dan and his girlfriend.
The Lieutenant Disagrees
Even though the papers clearly stated that Diggy was an American bulldog, it didn’t matter to the police lieutenant. Lt. Todd Hasselbach said about the dog, “It looks like a pit to me. I’d write a ticket.” Dan couldn’t believe it when the police said that Diggy must have been a pit bull, no matter what his papers said. He was given three days to get rid of the dog.
Sticking To Their Guns
Dan thought that he could rally some support on social media, and he was definitely right. However, even the pressure from dog lovers and animal rights groups wasn’t enough to change the police department’s point of view on the matter. “From our standpoint, it’s a pretty clear case of an ordinance that makes it clear what’s permissible and what’s not,” said Police Chief Scott Underwood. “Our job is to enforce the ordinance.”
An Impossible Choice
Dan faced an extremely difficult choice. He would either have to comply with the ordinance and get rid of Diggy or face the consequences, which could include a $500 fine and jail time. However, Diggy’s photogenic appeal had not only gotten them into trouble, it would also help to get them out of it, as people quickly became wrapped up in the case and tried to help.
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Before long, thousands of people had not only shown their support for Dan, his girlfriend, and Diggy, but they had signed online petitions, protested against the police department’s decision, and spoken out on social media regarding the injustice at hand. Dan was seriously considering using the momentum from their support to fight the matter in court.
The protesters and animal rights groups weren’t just trying to keep Dan from having to give up Diggy. They aimed higher than that, deciding that they wanted the ordinance against pit bull ownership removed within the township. That way, nobody could be told that they couldn’t own a specific breed of dog in the area.
A Clear Case
Dan knew right away what he had to do. He was going to fight the case. He knew that he had a strong chance of keeping Diggy, not only due to the support that he had gained from others, but because the papers clearly stated he was an American bulldog. “My lawyer and I are going to do everything possible to make sure Diggy stays in his home with us, his family,” Dan said.
Outpouring Of Support
Dan could not have imagined just how many people would intervene on Diggy’s behalf. In fact, the online petition to support Dan’s ownership of Diggy got over one hundred thousand signatures! Not only that, but people came from all around to attend a town gathering in support of Dan’s right to keep Diggy.
Although life can be difficult at times, it is often during these trying times that people see how much support they really have from others. This was certainly very true during Dan’s preparation to fight for Diggy. “People had really invested their emotions into this story, and it’s beautiful to see so many people care about rescue dogs,” said Kristina Rinaldi, director of Detroit Dog Rescue.
Hoping For The Best
Dan didn’t like the idea that if things were decided to not be in his favor, he would have to give up his new dog. However, he had to trust in the court to see the issue clearly. Not long later, after a ton of talk between both sides, Dan got the answer he’d been waiting for. The court had thrown out the case and Dan would get to keep his dog.
Time To Celebrate
Once again, Dan would post more adorable selfies with his dog, but this time, the matter was a little bit different. Dan and his girlfriend Megan posted an update to their followers, letting them know that they’d get to keep Diggy after all. Furthermore, they’d made progress in their efforts to overturn the local ordinance against pit bull ownership.
Diggy’s Fans Helped
It’s unclear whether the outcome would have been the same if Diggy hadn’t been so lovable and his photos hadn’t gone viral. However, it’s hard to imagine that the support of thousands of followers on social media and over one hundred thousand petition signers failed to factor into the matter in some way.
Dan In Real Life
When not spending quality time with his dog, Dan Tillery is working to break through as a musician. He generally uses his social media profiles to bolster the profile of his musical career, although many times his musical posts take a back seat for more cute selfies with Diggy. In 2016, he released his first EP, the aptly titled We Like To Have Fun!
Sometimes, pets can ascend from normal pet status to become celebrities of sorts. Diggy may not be at Grumpy Cat status quite yet, but thousands of followers still look forward to regular updates on Diggy and new photos of the happy dog. It’s an understatement to say that Diggy’s fans are quite pleased with the fact that he got to stay in his new home.