Dan was in a position to adopt and fell in love with a wonderful rescue dog. He was so proud of his new pet that he shared pictures of the dog-man duo together on social media for the world to see.
Unfortunately, posting an innocent photo had some severe consequences that resulted in a knock on the door from the police a few days later… Read on to find out the full story.
Like most couples, Dan and his girlfriend had been thinking about getting a dog for a long time. Of course, when you’re renting an apartment this can be difficult as most landlords have a “no pet” policy.
When the couple could finally afford a place of their own, they were able to make their own rules and the first one was that pets were definitely allowed.
Meeting Sir Wiggleton
While most couples start off up by looking for the right furniture and decor when they get a new home, Dan and his girlfriend knew that the thing that really makes a home complete is a dog. As cute as newborn puppies at pet stores are, they did the honorable thing and went to the animal shelter to find their new best friend.
At the shelter, they fell in love with a rescue dog called Sir Wiggleton. Dan barely hesitated before making the decision to bring the adorable pup home.
A Lost Pup
Sir Wiggleton was just two years old when he was introduced to Dan and his girlfriend. He had been taken to the shelter after he was found aimlessly roaming the streets of Detroit.
Funnily enough, where he was found was quite close to where Dan and his girlfriend were now living. Someone had found poor Sir Wiggleton all alone and took him in for several months before turning him into the shelter where Dan then adopted him from
There is no doubt about it that Dan was meant to find Sir Wiggleton. They bonded instantly and Dan claims that he had known all along that the adorable pup was the one for him. He had seen the dog sticking his tongue out on one of the shelter’s social media accounts. The cheeky pic made it an easy choice to take home Sir Wiggleton. As much as Dan loved the name, it was a bit of a mouthful so he renamed him “Diggy”.
A Big Hit
Diggy quickly fell for Dan too, and Dan loved to take photos of the two of them enjoying a cuddle. He shared some of these photos on Instagram and naturally, his followers loved them too.
Being a musician with a large online following, Dan’s fans would always leave loving comments on the photos of the dog-man duo. Eventually, Dan found himself gaining even more followers, not for his music or good looks, but for Diggy.
Although most of the feedback was positive, a few people noticed something odd in the photos. This led to someone calling the local police to make an official complaint.
Posting a photo of yourself cuddled up with your dog seems like the most innocent thing in the world. What could possibly offend anyone about Diggy? Was it a cat who made the complaint?
The idea of someone calling the police because of a pet picture on Instagram is absurd. When Dan found out that a complaint had been lodged, he was just as baffled as us. When he found out what the complaint was, however, he was even more surprised.
Barking At the Wrong Tree
Flicking through these photos, it’s pretty hard to see what could possibly prompt a call to the police. As far as we can see, there are no signs of abuse and Dan isn’t exactly an escaped convict. We’ve scanned the pictures over and over to see if there is evidence of drug use or weapons in the background but if that’s what you’re looking for, you are barking at the wrong tree.
The complaint was actually made regarding something in plain sight, and it’s something that most people would never think to contact the police about.
Detroit Dog Rescue
In the first photo that Dan posted on social media, Dan tagged “Detroit Dog Rescue” in the picture. After all, it was the dog shelter who had brought him and Diggy together so why should he avoid giving them credit?
He also hoped to endorse the shelter with his happy pictures of Diggy. He thought that when people saw how lovely Diggy was, they might be inclined to get their dog from the shelter rather than a pet store.
Unfortunately, this thoughtful decision was one that Dan would later come to deeply regret.
Diggy Goes Viral
Dan’s post quickly went viral. By tagging the shelter in his photo, thousands of people checked out the page and Detroit Rescue gained 24,000 new likes in 24 hours. Dan received countless calls and emails from media companies and fellow dog lovers who wanted to hear the story of how Dan met Diggy.
Although most of these messages were overwhelmingly positive, there was also some negative feedback. Shockingly, some of this negativity was aimed not at Dan, but at the lovely Diggy.
This is the original post that Dan wrote on Facebook. It was this post that warmed the hearts of his followers, gained the Detroit Dog Rescue a ton of new customers and, coincidentally, caused a whirlwind of trouble for Diggy and Dan.
Detroit Dog Rescue wrote in the post: “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!”
A Knock on the Door
Obviously, Dan was delighted with the positive feedback he was receiving and was happy that he had been able to help out the shelter while showing the world his lovely Diggy. He hoped that he was raising awareness of dogs in need of adoption and it was great to see people liking, sharing and talking about Diggy the rescue dog.
Things seemed to be going great until Dan received a knock on his door. Standing on his porch were not adoring fans, but two police officers…
Beware of Dogs
There was a period when stories about dogs attacking children were published everywhere. In 2016, 41 people were killed in dog attacks, and surprisingly 22 of these attackers were pit bulls.
Consequently, pit bulls became a breed of dog which the public feared. Even though they might look cute, people started to worry that they were a vicious breed. Of course, what they didn’t understand was that the dogs that were attacking people were dogs that had been trained to attack or were abused as pups.
Pit bulls subsequently gained a bad reputation and some communities feared them so much that they decided to make it illegal to own them locally.
Yes, pit bulls can be dangerous but animal specialists agree that this is only the case if the dogs were abused growing up. Generally speaking, pit bulls are actually friendly dogs, which we can certainly see in Dan’s pictures of Diggy.
Sadly though, this story doesn’t end with the news of Dan owning a prohibited dog breed.
Breaking the Law
The popularity of Dan’s post had gained the attention of his town’s local police department. The police officers at his door were not there to give Diggy a bone, they were there to take legal action.
In accordance with the laws of Waterford Township, Dan was informed that it was illegal for residents of the town to own pit bulls or pit bull mixes. He was told that he had no choice but to return Diggy to the shelter. If he ignored the warning, there would be legal consequences.
Dan could not believe what was happening. Diggy was such a good dog and he clearly wasn’t a threat to anyone. In fact, the police offers who came to his house actually seemed to agree that the pit bull was entirely harmless.
“When they went to the gate (to) actually see him, he licked their face, was very kind,” Dan told his local radio station, WWJ. “They said, we’re dog lovers, that’s cool, he seems like a good boy. Took some pictures of him.”
The Talk of the Town
After waiting for so long to get a dog, it seemed like Dan was back to the starting point. Before, the landlord wouldn’t allow him to own a dog. Now, the township was saying he couldn’t keep his beloved Diggy.
It all seemed unfair, even cruel. Dan desperately didn’t want to return his new best friend to the shelter. Of course, moving to a different place isn’t an easy option, and it seemed ridiculous that he could not keep his own harmless pet on his own property.
A Different Breed
As it turned out, Diggy was not only a friendly, harmless pet… He wasn’t even a pit bull! On Sir Wiggleton’s official documents, it was said that he was an American bulldog.
Dan and his girlfriend were overjoyed when they found out the news and assumed that once they showed the police department the papers, everyone would forget the whole thing ever happened.
Unfortunately, Dan and Diggy were not so lucky and the police responded in a way they did not expect.
Ignoring the Facts
The police officers looked over the adoption papers but decided that what they stated didn’t matter. Even though they said that Diggy was an American bulldog, the officers were convinced that he was a pitbull.
One officer, Lt. Todd Hasselbach, said: “it looks like a pit to me.’’ He then added that if it was him that had spotted Dan with Diggy he’d “write a ticket.”
Dan could not believe his turn of bad luck and was devestated when he was told that he had just three days to return Diggy to the shelter.
A Dog’s Life
It seems unfair that the police got to decide whether or not Diggy was a pit bull or bulldog. His adoption certificates were created by dog experts, not laymen who determined the breed based on looks alone.
It was clear that the case was that some locals had felt uneasy with Diggy living in the town. This was probably down to all the horror stories that newspapers had been printing. But it doesn’t seem right that people weren’t willing to give Diggy a chance just because of stigma against a breed he bared resemblance to.
With a Little Help from My Friends
Although it was Dan’s viral post which got him into this mess, it also meant that he had thousands of people on his side. Animal lovers, animal rights activists and Dan’s fans all reached out to the police department, hoping that if enough people came forward, they would let the whole thing go.
The Police Department’s Chief, Scott Underwood, simply responded: “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.”
Risking Jail Time
Dan was eventually given an ultimatum by the police: he could either give Diggy back to the shelter, or he would be faced with a $500 fine and risk jail time.
Dan was in a difficult position because he loved Diggy dearly but going to jail did not seem like an option. Luckily, his online friends and fans decided to step in and give him backup. His growing online following agreed that the situation is unfair and let Dan know that he had their support.
When it was announced that Dan and Diggy were going to appear in court simply for sharing a home, thousands of people were outraged. The online community was moved by Diggy’s story and created a petition. The petition called for justice for Diggy and Dan, and thousands and thousands of people had promptly signed it.
While all this was happening, Dan was looking at his legal options and was getting ready for his day in court.
A Greater Cause
The purpose of the petition was not just to help Dan and Diggy, but to help all dogs who were judged for their breed and not their behavior.
The petitioners wanted the law banning pit bulls to be lifted. The fact that Diggy was an American bulldog was not important, what mattered was that he was being unfairly judged when he had done nothing wrong.
Those signing hoped that they would be able to not only keep Dan and Diggy together, but that such injustice would never happen again.
Committed to the Cause
Dan was still hopeful that the fact that Diggy was not a pit bull, but an American bulldog, would give him the upper hand in court. Even though the local police had their own opinion, in the eyes of the law Dan really had done nothing wrong.
“My lawyer and I are going to do everything possible to make sure Diggy stays in his home with us, his family,” Dan shared on social media. “Thanks for all of your support, guys. I’m not a quitter.”
The Kindness of Strangers
When Dan’s day in court came, it wasn’t just the truth that was on his side. Yes, Diggy was not a pit bull, but even more importantly, Dan had the backing of over a hundred thousand people. The petition had really taken off and more people had got on board than he could possibly have hoped for.
In fact, some people actually made an appearance at a town hall meeting to discuss the case that they cared so passionately about. Dan could not believe how kind people were being and he was more than grateful for their support.
What’s great about this story is that although it was Diggy that triggered everyone’s interest, what kept people supporting them was a love not just for Diggy, but for all rescue dogs.
Rescue dogs are animals which have been through the worst and have then had a hard time finding a new, loving home. Diggy did not deserve to be taken from his loving owner and it was Diggy and all the other mistreated rescue dogs that people cared about the most.
Detroit Dog Rescue’s director, 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.”
The Best of Pets
It is believed that approximately 3.3 million dogs in the United States alone are put in shelters every year. But only 1.6 million find new homes: 620,000 are returned to their previous owners and, tragically, 670,000 are put down.
Adopting a rescue dog can literally save a life. What’s more, owners of rescue dogs profess that their dogs are the most loving of all pets because they are grateful to be with their kind new owners.
The Big Day
The whole situation was unfair and stressful. Dan had only just found his dream dog and was now facing the possibility of giving him up. What made things even worse was the fact that there wasn’t even a good reason for this whole mess.
When it came to Dan’s day in court, the police and jury looked over Dan’s claims and finally came to an agreement. The judge’s verdict was that the case ought to be dismissed and Dan could finally relax knowing that he was allowed to keep the lovely Diggy.
Image by @dantillery/Instagram
We Get to Keep Our Boy!
Upon hearing the wonderful news, Dan could not wait to share the outcome with his online fans and all those invested in the case.
Instead of writing a lengthy, Dan cut straight to the chase. He wrote: “We get to keep our boy, He’s a good boy.”
Although this news in itself is wonderful, what’s even better is that the township rephrased the law and made it a little less harsh. It turned out that Dan and Diggy’s struggle was not for nothing, because now the stressful situation would never happen to anyone else.
In lieu of the news, Dan decided it was time to take Diggy to an expert and settle the debate of his breed.
Another positive outcome of the event is that Dan gained an even bigger following on social media. He was already an influencer and boasted 10,000 likes on his Facebook page, over 14,000 Instagram followers and over a thousand subscribers to his Twitter account.
His popularity online is what really helped give his case the boost it needed. If Dan did not have so many fans already, the story could well be forgotten. Luckily, Dan’s success helped other rescue dogs too and not just Diggy.
Image by @dantillery/Instagram
Part of the reason Dan had such a following before the Diggy troubles is that he is an up and coming musician. He is known for having a ton of charisma on stage and tours regularly around the United States.
Being a rising star, he has received lots of devoted fans and followers which have helped turn him into an even bigger success. Dan mostly uses social media to promote his band but of course, he couldn’t help but use it to share pictures of his lovely Diggy too.
Image by @dantillery/Instagram
Recently, Dan’s music career seems to be really taking off. In 2016, he released a single called “We Like to Have Fun.” The single did pretty well and his shows in Detroit were packed.
He posted some videos of the shows on YouTube which are worth checking out, and if you want to hear his music you can also look up his Facebook page.
With the unconditional love and loyalty from Diggy, Dan really is an unstoppable force.
Image by @dantillery/Instagram
The Other Star
Of course, Dan isn’t the only big hit living in his house. Diggy is also a bit of a celebrity and although lots of people follow Dan for his music, many follow Dan for Diggy. He is such an adorable, charming dog that it’s no surprise that people want to see what antics he has been up to. Luckily, there is room for both of them to win over more and more fans, and shine on their shared social media accounts.
Image by @dantillery/Instagram
Happily Ever After
Now, Dan and Diggy live happily together. Diggy has finally found the loving home that he deserves and Dan is finally allowed to live peacefully with his dream dog.
In the pictures Dan posts, Diggy looks happy and healthy. Dan and his girlfriend obviously take great care of their pet and their happiness as a mini-family really does show just how wonderful the experience of adopting a rescue dog can be.
Together, Diggy and Dan made each other’s lives complete and they have also helped all the rescue dogs who were adopted by those that were inspired by their love.
Don’t you just love a happy ending?