WOOD RIVER - A social media post depicting an underweight great Dane went viral on Wood River Facebook pages Tuesday morning.
The image shows a brown and white great Dane with protruding ribs clearly visible beneath the skin. It was accompanied by a post from a Wood River woman, Diane Cole-Gibson, which stated she had witnessed the dog not being fed properly. She asked Facebook users in a public post if any of them knew of a way to save the dog from its owner. She said she could not get any help for the dog, and can no longer "sneak him food." She encouraged people to share the story with her photos.
That story was shared by the Wood River Police Department on its Facebook page. Later that day, the police said the department is investigating the complaint and discovered the dog has gained 15 pounds since those photos were shot in September. Wood River Deputy Police Chief Dan Bunt said his department takes allegations of animal abuse seriously.
"We did not ignore that issue," he said. "We're as sad as anyone else to see animal abuse. Every time we went over, the owners complied with it."
When the police investigated, the owner was told to take the dog to a vet immediately. Bunt said the owner complied, and the vet placed the dog on a nutrition program, which is currently being followed.
Due to the social media following on the story Tuesday, the Wood River Police Department again visited the dog and owner, this time accompanied by the Humane Society. The police and Humane Society agreed the dog was being properly treated and fed.
Bunt said the original images of the dog being an unhealthy weight were a result of the dog being anxious about being in a new location with a new atmosphere, and confirmed that issue has been solved and the owner has been extremely compliant throughout the entire ordeal and investigation.
Cole-Gibson believes the police are not able to do enough to help. She admitted the dog has gained weight since those photos were originally taken, but she said it was because she has been secretly been feeding the dog.
"The first officer went in there on Sunday, and told the guy he had until Wednesday to get that dog on a vet's care," she said. "If the owner was feeding the dog that well, he wouldn't eat what I'm feeding him."
She said she delivers the dog two two-liter pitchers worth of puppy chow every day, because she was told by veterinarians to feed an underweight dog puppy chow in order for it to gain weight. Originally, Cole-Gibson said she fed the dog "high dollar" grain-free food she fed her own dogs.
"I'm heartbroken, just devastated, that dog has a right," she said.
As of now, no charges have been filed, and Bunt said the Wood River Police Department will continue to investigate this situation if such investigation is warranted, as well as any other allegations of animal abuse within the community.
Reporter Cory Davenport can be reached via call or text at (618) 419-3046 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.