A social media hoax that proclaims Halloween as "National Kill a Pitbull Day" has upset an official at a local animal shelter who's worried it might inspire someone to hurt a dog.
"Even if this is a joke, it's not funny," said Alison Smith, director of the Walker County Animal Shelter in Georgia, who reported it to the Walker County Sheriff's Office after it was brought to the shelter's attention.
"I just felt like the community needed to know this," Smith said.
She thinks pit bull owners should know, in case they want to keep their dogs inside on Halloween night.
The message to kill pit bulls has gone viral on Facebook and Twitter and is attributed to Terry Jordan, a Slater, Mo., councilman who earlier this year helped write an ordinance to control vicious animals, according to the Marshall Democrat-News in Marshall, Mo.
"We don't know who posted it, and I don't know how to stop it," Jordan told the newspaper, which reported he was horrified by the hoax and never has suggested violence against pitbulls. Angry phone calls have flooded his business, the Slater Police Department and the Slater City Hall, the paper reported.
Walker County Detective Capt. Steve Rogers doesn't think the hoax is going to inspire violence against pit bulls.
"I wouldn't think so," Rogers said. "I think if that's something they're going to do, I don't think they need a day."
He said the county seldom gets reports of dogs being killed.
"Once or twice a year, we get somebody reporting their dog's died and they suspect somebody of doing something to it," Rogers said.
Tim Omarzu covers education for the Times Free Press. Omarzu is a longtime journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor at daily and weekly newspapers in Michigan, Nevada and California.