A PENARTH dog-carer who was accused of stealing animals has spoken of the pain caused by false accusations on social media.
On Monday passionate dog-carer and part-owner of Penarth-based family business PB Dog Care Sean Mayor, aged 22, was contacted by his cousin, who notified him of a rumour circulating on social media that he had stolen the dogs he was looking after.
There has been a spate of dog thefts across south Wales in recent weeks which has been well-publicised. Demand for dogs has increased during the pandemic, and organisation DogLost estimates thefts have risen by 250 per cent.
Mr Mayor believes that might be why the post was eventually shared more than 350 times before the person withdrew it.
As if that wasn’t enough, he has since been approached by a man who, having seen the misguided post, “aggressively” accused him of dog theft again this week.
“It has been a scary week and something I wouldn’t want to happen to anyone,” Mr Mayor said. “I’m passionate about these animals and do my best every day to look after them. It’s been hurtful.”
Explaining the importance of verifying information on social media, or thinking twice before sharing something on Facebook, he said: “That post wasn’t true and yet was shared 350 times. It’s not right. I fully realise that woman was trying to do a good thing, but she jumped to conclusions when she could have asked me to explain the situation.”
After Mr Mayor says he realised the post had reached more than 25,000 people, he decided the only way to clear his name was to call on his clients.
“We have a bit of a presence ourselves on social media, so we just posted to inform our clients and friends of the false claims, and asked them to share the truth for us,” he added. “We’ve been blown away by the support – we’ve had more than 600 shares.
“The really worrying thing is we’ve also had a couple of people come to us to say they’ve had similar accusations thrown at them on social media. The thing linking them all is a owning a white transit van. People see vans like that and for some reason jump to conclusions.”