Police who posted a joke appeal about the arrest of a DOG wanted for murder and even published a ‘mutt shot’ faced a back-leash – after a campaign was started to free him.
Officers in Scotland posted the hound’s picture and said a man had reported a ‘theft’ of a garden hose and a ‘murder‘ of tulips.
Dumfries and Galloway police Facebook page jokingly responded with an image Labrador which they had ‘caught on CCTV’.
They later said the police division’s ‘murder squad’ ‘arrested’ the pup, called Dudley, following an early morning raid.
But after it appeared on Facebook page hundreds of social media users though it was real – and started a #freedudley campaign.
The police post said: “You may recall on 17th September 2015, Police were informed of a theft and a subsequent ‘murder‘ (theft of hose, murder of tulips).
“The Murder squad quickly recovered CCTV from the locus of the ‘perp’ in the act and circulated the suspect’s image to officers.
“You will be pleased to know, the murder squad followed up a number of ‘leads’ and identified the suspect as a five month old yellow lab named Dudley.
“He was arrested in an early morning dawn raid and will be appearing at court tomorrow where it is expected he will be sent to the big dog house.”
Craig Johnston, the man, who originally reported the ‘crime’ said that it was “justice for my tulips.”
But several social media users have backlashed against the post and started a campaign in the hope of saving the Lab from the big dog house.
Facebook user Clare Muir said: “Poor Dudley…looks too innocent to have committed this outrageous deed. What about innocent until proven guilty? Free the Dumfries one.”
And Facebook user Jonathan Dempster hoped that the pup had been told its rights.
He said: “I hope an officer is going through the Puppies and Criminal Evidence Act with Dudley.
“As his lawful defence, I submit Dudley was legally ‘ barking mad ‘ at time of the offence, and the court will note this is punishment enough , and request an order for Dudley be made to reside outside any big doghouse, instead having access to open fields, secure humane kennelling, and proper puppy care.
“It is felt Dudley will make a full recovery, full rehabilitation, leading to the potential of Dudley making positive public contributions over the long term, I respectfully submit.”