COCOA, Fla. – Brevard County Animal Services on Monday said a disturbing picture posted to Facebook prompted many calls to its shelter, but the alleged incident could not be verified by authorities.
The photo, posted by Travis Fink, of Palm Bay, according to his "About" page, appears to show a cat hanging from a rope attached a pole. The pole is braced on top of a set of step stairs. In the background, the snout of an alligator in the lake is visible. Fink claimed in his September 5 posting that the photo was snapped at the Cocoa Expo Sports Center on Friday Road.
"So if you live on Friday rd an are missing a pet the people at the expo center have been feeding your pets to gators by hanging them from a pole...." wrote Fink.
People who commented on the post were horrified.
Local 6 visited the sports complex Monday afternoon and took a photo of the lake, which shows no evidence of the cat, pole or stairs.
Neighbors who live along Friday Road said they didn't know of any missing cats.
The complex is under construction and the job site manager told Local 6 the picture was "Photoshopped" by a "disgruntled employee with a long criminal history."
Local 6 attempted to contact Fink but received no response.
The job site manager said Brevard County sheriff's deputies and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officers inspected the lake and found nothing, but an investigation is ongoing.
Karla Torpy, director of Brevard County Animal Services, said deputies found no evidence to support the validity of the picture when they visited Friday and Saturday.
The Brevard County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday also told Local 6 that deputies continue to investigate the alleged incident.