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Hoax Warning Message – ‘National Kill A Pit Bull Day’

by Brett M. Christensen

This story was first published on October 5, 2012

Outline

Warning message that circulates via social media claims that October 31 (Halloween Night) has been designated as “National Kill a Pit Bull Day” and warns dog owners to lock up their animals because people have been instructed to go out and kill as many pit bulls and other dog breeds as possible before midnight on the designated day. 

Brief Analysis

The message is a hoax. The warning began as an attempt to get back at a man named Terry Jordan, a city councilman in a small Missouri town who crafted a ‘vicious dog’ ordinance that proved unpopular with local pit bull lovers. Someone created a fake social media account in Jordan’s name and posted the message. It soon spread far and wide via Twitter, Facebook and other social networks, with many recipients apparently believing the warning to be valid. The hoax, which started in September 2012, now makes a return every year in September and October.

Example

Kill a Pit Bull Day Hoax

 

Detailed Analysis

This message, couched as a warning to dog owners, circulates via Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets. The message claims that October 31 (Halloween Night) has been designated as “National Kill a Pit Bull Day” and warns dog owners to keep their dogs locked up on Halloween this year.

The warning includes a message, supposedly from a person named Terry Jordan, that asks people to round up some friends and use any means available to “kill as many pit bulls as you can before midnight” on the designated day. 
The message began circulating in September 2012 and then again around September 2013. And, alas, it has returned in September and October every year since.

The claims in the message are utter nonsense. The message was apparently created by an irate, dog-loving prankster as a means of exacting revenge on the man mentioned in the message.

Terry Jordan, a city councilman in a small Missouri town, help craft a “vicious dog” ordinance that was unpopular with local pit bull lovers. Soon after, a fake social media account was set up in Jordan’s name and this account was then used to blast out the above message.

It happened to get sent to a musician who re-tweeted the message with a note that he was doing so to warn pit bull owners.

But a large number of kneejerk reactionary “shoot first read later” types started castigating said musician in the mistaken belief that it was actually him who crafted the ‘kill” order in the first place.

A September 19, 2012 article in the Marshall Democrat-News noted:

Slater City Councilman Terry Jordan never took interest in Facebook or Twitter, but the social networks have buzzed about him all afternoon.

At approximately 3 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 17, the Slater Police Department, Slater City Hall and Jordan’s business began receiving phone calls regarding a viral social network post. The uproar stemmed from an Internet post that called for violence against pit bulls. But Jordan seemed nearly as horrified by the post as the Internet did. “We don’t know who posted it, and I don’t know how to stop it,” Jordan said.

While Jordan helped create a vicious animal ordinance earlier in 2012, this law merely placed safety restrictions on pet owners.

A follow-up article in the same publication further noted:

During the Slater City Council meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 18, Mayor Stephen Allegri had a strong message for anonymous callers and Internet posters who have incorrectly attributed a social media post to city councilman Terry Jordan.

“Our Terry has been inundated and the city has been inundated with threats and calls,” he said. “Well, Terry didn’t do this.” Jordan has been at the center of an Internet storm since a video and statement encouraging a “kill pit bull” day were posted on YouTube three days ago by someone using the same name.

“Do your research people, this is not the man,” Allegri said.

Thus,  even in the first year that it circulated, the above warning was never legitimate. Sending on such misinformation will help neither people nor their canine companions.



Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer