Dan Tillery had always dreamed of adopting a dog and his dream finally came true. He was so excited about his new pet that he posted a picture of him and his new dog smiling together on his Facebook page. Dan really did not expect, however, the reaction that he received to the picture. When he posted it, he had no idea that it would cause his newly adopted dog to be taken away from him. But what was the picture of and how could it have prompted such a drastic response that got a pet taken away from its owner? Read on to find out more about this heartfelt tale.
Wanting a dog
Dan, along with his girlfriend had been hoping to get a dog for a while and was excited when they had the opportunity.
Dan said in a recent interview to the Oakland Press, “[My girlfriend and I] have been wanting a dog forever, but the place we were renting would not allow dogs. We just recently purchased our first home. All ours. And dogs are allowed.”
Fulfilling their dream
Soon after he and his girlfriend moved into their new house, they began searching for a furry friend to move in with them.
Dan had always had dreams of having a dog, and since their house allowed pets, this was the perfect opportunity to fulfill his dream. The pair fell in love with a rescue dog hilariously named Sir Wiggleton.
The 2 year-old dog was an American bulldog and was found roaming around the streets in Detroit where the couple live.
Someone found the stray dog and reported him to a local shelter. He was taken to the shelter where he stayed for a couple of months until Dan and his girlfriend decided to bring him home.
A funny puppy
Sir Wiggleton and Dan had an instant connection and Dan knew he was the dog for them. Dan saw a silly photo of the canine with him sticking his tongue out and looking extremely cute.
Dan went to shelter to pick up his new friend and chose to rename him as Diggy. Dan was very excited and everything seemed to be going well. However, things were about to get a lot worse.
His happy pup
Dan, who is a musician, was overjoyed when he brought his new dog home. He thought Diggy was extremely cute and he wanted to share Diggy’s face with all of his friends on social media.
This is not something out of the ordinary as many people post pictures of their new puppies online. But something happened when Dan posted the pictures that he could never have expected.
Call the cops
In an unusual turn of events, after Dan started posting pictures of his newly adopted dog, someone decided to tell the police on him. What was happening?
Why would anyone call the police over a cute dog with a happy face? Dan was very surprised to hear the news and was even more stunned to know the reason why the police were called.
What was in the photo that could have prompted such a reaction? The picture seemed completely innocent as it was simply a selfie in which both dan and his new dog Diggy were smiling for the camera.
The two looked as though they were smitten with each other and getting along well. So where did Dan post this picture that would give him so much negative attention?
Thanking the shelter
The cute photo was shared online to the ‘Detroit Dog Rescue’. Dan thought he should give them credit as he adopted Diggy from the rescue.
He thought people should know how happy adopting a rescue dog could make you and thought that capturing it in a picture would be a good way to show it. It turns out that was not the case.
After Dan posted the now infamous picture, it started getting attention instantly. The adorable picture was posted on the Detroit Rescue’s social media page and got twenty-four thousand likes in one day!
The picture was so popular than Dan began receiving phone calls from media and messages from dog lovers across the country. But with fame often comes criticism. Soon, people who were not so happy about the picture began making comments.
Dan posted photo that went viral on Facebook with a caption that read:
“We know this photo is going to break the internet and we apologize, but we had to share. After almost 100 days in the shelter, Sir Wiggleton just got adopted. Sir Wiggleton and his new Dad are celebrating adoption day with huge smiles all around!” Tons of comments began pouring in as the photo gained more shares and attention.
The police show up
As most people would be when a post they made goes viral, Dan was happy that his picture had so many people talking.
He thought that it was a totally positive scenario and did not see any negative effects. That all changed a couple days after the photo was posted and the police came to Dan’s. Obviously, Dan was very confused and concerned when the authorities showed up at his home.
It seems every time we turn on the news, there is another story of a dog attack on a child or an adult. Most of the time, these dog attacks are linked to pit bulls.
They can often permanently damage the victim, and can even be fatal. But how many pit bull attacks have there really been? In 2016, 41 people were killed due to a fatal dog attack – and 22 of these deaths were caused by a pit bull. The others were caused by Labradors, Rottweilers, German Shepherds and more.
An unlucky breed
According to what we know today, there are some owners who sadly have to give up their pit bulls – all because of their breed.
Pit bulls are often talked about more frequently than other dog breeds because they often deemed as highly dangerous. Animal specialists around the world look towards the pit bulls history, as many have been bred as baiting dogs – causing them to be more aggressive and violently inclined.
Dan’s photo went so viral that it gained the awareness of the township’s police department.The officers that came to Dan’s house and they did not seem to be there to congratulate him on his viral photo.
They told him that the laws in the Waterford Township (where he lived) does not allow residents to own pit bulls or a dog that is a mix with a pit bull. They informed him that he would either have to return Diggy to the shelter or face legal consequences.
Diggy isn’t a pit bull
Dan thought that accusation was ridiculous and was certain that the officers were not actually intending to go through with their punishment.
Dan knew how funny and kind Diggy was and knew that the authorities officers would think so too. He said, “When they went to the gate [to] actually see him, he licked their face, was very kind,” Dan explained to WWJ. “They said, we’re dog lovers, that’s cool, he seems like a good boy. Took some pictures of him.”
Proof in the papers
When Dan and his girlfriend adopted Diggy, they received adoption papers stating that his breed was American bulldog.
Dan, along with his girlfriend were certain that when the police saw his adoption papers, they would realize their mistake and leave them to go on with their lives with Diggy. However, this was unfortunately not the case and the couple were absolutely stunned when they heard what the local police department had to say about their beloved Diggy.
He looks like one
Dan was correct that the adoption papers did say that Diggy was a bulldog. He gave the papers to the police but they did not change their minds.
They thought that Diggy looked like a pit bull and he must have been even though his papers stated otherwise. Lt. Todd Hasselbach from the department said, “It looks like a pit to me,’’ he continued, “I’d write a ticket.” The dog owner Dan was in disbelief and he was given only three days with Diggy before he had to give him back.
Following the law
Unsurprisingly, there was major backlash from people who liked the picture and animal rights groups.
However, the local police department explained that they only wanted to enforce the law. The Chief of the department, Scott Underwood, said to the press, “From our standpoint, it’s a pretty clear case of an ordinance that makes it clear what’s permissible and what’s not. Our job is to enforce the ordinance.”
Go to jail?
Dan had the choice of paying a $500 payment or even getting jail time over his dog. He did not have much choice but to, unfortunately give Diggy back.
The viral picture was what had prompted Dan to be in this mess in the first place but it was also what was going to help him out. People online were stunned that the authorities could take away a dog from its owner when the dog had not even done anything wrong.
Going to court for Diggy
There were thousands of people who had heard about Dan and Diggy’s story and they were infuriated.
Supporters began to organize a petition online to help Dan keep his beloved four-legged friend. While protesters were trying to let Diggy stay, Dan was also trying to fight for his dog and preparing himself to go to court over the matter. Would he be able to keep the dog he loved so much?
In addition to petitioning so that Dan could keep Diggy, the supporters had some other plans in store.
They wanted to dismantle the town’s ban on pit bulls which would both let Diggy stay in his home and ensure that no other dog owner would ever have to face this difficult decision again. They thought it was unfair to not allow a certain breed of dog to be adopted and wanted to change the laws.
Let Diggy stay
Dan thought that he would win his case easily because of the fact that Diggy is not the breed they think even though the local police department thinks he looks like one.
Dan posted on his social media page, “My lawyer and I are going to do everything possible to make sure Diggy stays in his home with us, his family.” he continued on to say, “Thanks for all of your support, guys. I’m not a quitter.”
Thousands of signatures
Dan and Diggy received an overwhelming amount of support. The publicity of the story got one-hundred thousand people to sign the online petition in support of Diggy.
In addition, the supporters made an appearance at a town gathering in which the issue was discussed. Dan was amazed at many people were advocating for him and his pup. But was all of this support enough to help Diggy stay in his home?
Does Diggy have to go?
It was a very inspiring thing to see a whole community come together to support a dog and his owner.
The director from the rescue, Kristina Rinaldi, said, “People had really invested their emotions into this story, and it’s beautiful to see so many people care about rescue dogs.” While it was incredible to see people so interested in Dan’s situation, would it help him be able to keep Diggy as a pet?
Dan was distressed at the thought of having to give up his dog over a false accusation and he worked hard to let Diggy stay.
After a lot of back and forth between the police station and much debate, he was finally given an answer about Diggy. Dan finally received good news! The court had dismissed the case and Dan was allowed to keep Diggy!
Another Facebook post
Dan was so excited at the news and posted on Facebook which was where this whole situation begam. He wrote, “We get to keep our boy, He’s a good boy.”
Not only were Dan and his girlfriend Megan able to keep their dog, they had gone a step further a changed the township’s rules about keeping pit bulls as pets. Furthermore, they enlisted the help of veterinarians to analyze the breed of a dog.
Growing in popularity
Luckily, Dan Tillery managed to campaign for his beloved Diggy to be returned to him, but many question whether he could have done the same thing if it weren’t for his popularity and his fame.
With nearly 10,000 likes on his Facebook page, over 14,000 followers on Instagram, and nearly 1,000 followers on Twitter, Dan was able to use his wide social media platform to bring their situation to the attention of the public.
A musical career
In fact, Dan Tillery is a budding musician. He regularly tours the country, performing his music in clubs and venues, and prides himself on his impressive stage presence.
His vast social media presence has allowed him to showcase his talent to the rest of the world. As his popularity grew, Dan knew he had to give his fans something more, so recorded his first EP, ‘We Like To Have Fun!’ in 2016. Nowadays, Dan uses his social media profiles to promote his music – and post the odd photo of Diggy!
A famous dog
As the story of Dan and Diggy took the world by storm, people from across the world were overjoyed to find out that Diggy was allowed to stay with his loving adoptive family – and Dan is using his social media profiled to keep the world up to date on Diggy’s life.
In fact, Diggy has become a celebrity in his own right. On October 2, 2017, Dan posted a picture of Diggy in the gym with him, and his fans couldn’t wait to congratulate the pair on their efforts. Go, Diggy!