Local News

Court appoints attorney for woman charged with animal cruelty

Posted December 14, 2015

— The wheels of justice have begun to turn, slowly, for a Cary woman charged with animal cruelty.

Katharine F. Lemansky, 45, was the subject of a social media storm after she posted a picture to Facebook of her chocolate lab-mix dog with its mouth taped shut. Within hours of her post, hundreds of thousands of people saw and shared the photo, and law enforcement in Florida – where Facebook indicated she lived – began an investigation.

Ultimately, the post was traced to Lemansky in Cary and she was charged with a misdemeanor.

On Monday in a brief court appearance, she got a court-appointed lawyer to handle her defense.

If convicted, Lemansky faces a fine and a possible jail sentence of up to 150 days.

Police did not remove the dog from Lemansky's custody because Cary Police Capt. Randall Rhyne said there were no signs of injury to the dog's muzzle or detectable hair loss from the duct tape, and the dog appeared well cared for. But the picture of the dog sparked national outcry on social media.

"I think it is really indicative of the times we live in when you add social media and digital space to an animal cruelty case," said Erica Geppi with the North Carolina Humane Society. "This this particular case it was literally international outcry for justice for this animal."

On WRAL's Facebook page alone, 21,000 people interacted with the post - commenting and sharing. There are currently two online petitions asking to have the animal taken away from Lemansky.

"The reaction from the community is actually a really positive sign because it means that we live in a community where people care enough to not be afraid to speak out on the behalf of animals," said Kim Janzen, the Wake County SPCA director.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • Linda Donoghue Dec 15, 2015
    user avatar

    You don't do this with children or other family members, why would you do it with your cat or dog? If your dog is barking, something is wrong?

  • Scott Householder Dec 14, 2015
    user avatar

    I do not condone what she did, but DAMM a nonstop barking dog. @BIGWIILIE JOHNSON - Why a fake account to post to news sites? I see so many people that hide behind anonymity online. I reckon that it makes people feel less responsible for the things that they say and do. I agree with a lot of your comments on here. Just wondering why people like yourself - and this lady - want to be some non-existent person when you're online. The law can find you should they chose to if given a reason, so why not just be yourself? I give FAR more consideration to those online that are who they are and not some fake person that doesn't really exist. Lol, I figured BIGWILLIE Johnson was a pseudonym when I first saw it. If you are using a site where folks use a screen name, fine. FB is supposed to be YOU, although I hardly ever use it, for reasons that you perfectly laid out. I don't know, I just think "this is who I am and this my opinion, take it or leave it and I stand by what I say because I'm REAL!"

  • BigWillie Johnson Dec 14, 2015
    user avatar

    I have a Facebook profile for the mere purpose of posting on news sites. The self-absorbed, look at my world, ignorance has hung a lot of people that deserved it.

  • Steve Faulkner Dec 14, 2015
    user avatar

    I am still trying to figure out how a woman in Rowan county was charged for this same crime and has already had a jury trial...

  • Libby Lynn Dec 14, 2015
    user avatar

    The court of social media means this woman's reputation is soured for life. The internet is permanent.

  • J.w. Thompson Dec 14, 2015
    user avatar

    Tape the owners mouth shut and lock her up!