GVSU student in photo holding dog by its tail responds, apologizes

ALLENDALE, Mich. - A Grand Valley State University student has responded after a photo of her holding a dog by its tail made the rounds on social media over the last couple of days.

In the photo that was posted on Snapchat, Gillian Nemeth is shown holding her purebred dachshund by its tail.  The original photo was taken down.

Screen image supplied to FOX 17

The photo caused outrage on social media and GVSU and the Ottawa County Sheriff began to investigate.   The sheriff's office said on Thursday that the student would not face charges.

The incident happened off campus.

In a written statement, Nemeth says the dog, Diesel, is her purebred mini-dachshund, and has been hers since a puppy.  She says she is very familiar with the history of dachshunds and was telling a group of friends about the breed and hunting techniques.  She says the dachshunds tail has a purpose of helping to pull the dog out of a hole while hunting rabbits and then to illustrate the strength of the tail, she held the dog by its tail.

She called that "very poor judgement on my part" and it will never happen again.

She also says that she has cooperated with Grand Valley and law enforcement.

Read her whole statement below:

On Sunday, September 3, 2017, I made a very poor decision, for which I profusely apologize.

While with friends that day, I had my purebred mini-dachshund, Diesel, with me.

I received Diesel as a gift from my parents when he was just a puppy. I have raised him to be a friendly and loving companion; he goes everywhere with me and even sleeps with me. I have spent many hours researching the breed and am very familiar with the history of dachshunds. Please know that I would never intentionally hurt any animal, especially my own dog.

That evening, my friends and I began talking about the dachshund breed and their hunting techniques. I told the group that a dachshund’s tail has two purposes: to be seen more easily in long grass and to help haul the dog out if it becomes stuck in a hole while hunting rabbits. To illustrate the strength of a dachshund’s tail, I held Diesel by the tail. That was very poor judgement on my part.

I understand what I did was wrong and nothing like this will ever happen again. I have been in close contact with the Ottawa County Sherriff’s Department and Grand Valley State University Dean’s office, for which I am extremely grateful. Please know that I honestly did not believe I was injuring Diesel in any way that evening. Due to the level of concern I will be taking Diesel in for an examination to make sure he was not injured and remains in excellent health.

I understand that the photo taken and posted that night has upset many people—I am truly sorry. I would like to personally apologize to my family, Grand Valley State University, and to those that I have offended.

This story was updated on Sept. 7, 2017 to add that no charges would be filed in the incident

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32 comments

  • Jessie

    Where the heck is Tennelle McFadden now?
    Seems she only cares about dogs if it can further hurt the Barking Boutique.
    Activists are all the same!

  • Elisabeth A Norton

    Sorry Gillian Nemeth, but no matter how many times and to how many persons you apologize to, your actions will always speak louder than words. And if you are college age, don’t you know the difference between right and wrong. Since when is it okay to hold a dog upside down by its tail? I think you have sadistic tendencies and are a sad excuse for a human. And to top that, I think you should be registered as an animal abuser. I am only one of a handful of many who find your actions unpardonable.

  • Elisabeth Norton

    Sorry Gillian Nemeth, but no matter how many times and to how many persons you apologize to, your actions will always speak louder than words. And if you are college age, don’t you know the difference between right and wrong. Since when is it okay to hold a dog upside down by its tail? I think you have sadistic tendencies and are a sad excuse for a human. And to top that, I think you should be registered as an animal abuser. I am only one of a handful of many who find your actions unpardonable. How would you feel if someone held you up by your nipples?

    • Lori

      There is no such thing as it is just a dog. She could have hurt the dog. If it we’re an infant/child you wouldn’t hold it upside down by one leg and say oh it’s just a child. Your statement was ignorant.

      • J.B.

        Yeah…but it is NOT an infant or a child…it is a dog.
        Believe it or not..there is a difference…
        And seeing as we are speaking of being ignorant…i though i might point that out.

      • JDJ

        As is your comment. To compare a dog to a child is what is wrong with this world. If bleeding hearts cared for children more than they do for animals we wouldn’t have kids killing each other.

  • Barbara Huyser

    How does it feel to be utterly despised by hundreds of thousands and to have your name associated with abusing your own dog? When potential employers do an internet search on your name, what do you think they will find? When the perpetrator of abuse is caugh, it’s rarely the first time they abused. You compromised your own future.

  • Debra Obinna

    Filth bag needs an electric prodding where the sun doesn’t shine. this isn’t her first time abusing that tiny, innocent, helpless dog. Jail and payback are all she’s worth. I sure hope she never gets to be near another animal. Next time this pig might kill its victim.

  • Common cents

    Not a big deal. All the people on here who want to give her crap about it should stfu. Like none of you have made a dumb decision before.

  • SK

    Hours of researching the breed? Sounds like cold detachment. Ever think of the word or feelings of “love” for your dog?
    You definetly have NO respect for him. You really don’t deserve to have him. I cringe to think what other harmful things you do. How would you like hung up side down by one leg, ah just to demonstrate. Really, people like you are disgusting.

  • Ron Olsen

    Gillian, this is not that big a deal. If Diesel had been hurt in any way he would have let you know. This is being blown way out of proportion by everyone including the government and the university administration.

  • Tim

    Oh my goodness, it’s just a dog, chill out people. And no this is not a ignorant comment Lori, dogs are different than humans and should be treated differently than humans. Chill out folks

    • J.B.

      Don’t bother trying to point out the obvious Tim..
      The Fur Fighters who equate animals with humans do not really understand the difference.
      If you have bacon and eggs for breakfast you might as well be a pro abortion cannibal in their eyes.

      • JDJ

        Oh no not poor Wilbur and the chicken abortions. Don’t make the bleeding hearts cry. Bwahahaha! You are so right but its still fun to get their panties in a bunch.

  • JDJ

    WOW! Just WOW! All you people bashing her for doing this need to use google and research the breed. It took me less than a minute to find info about how they were used for badger hunting and their tails were used to pull them out of holes while doing so. In the 1800s they weren’t trying to put their dogs in bubble wrap to protect them. They were used to hunt and for protecting humans. I’m not saying don’t love on your pets, I own a dog and he is like family to me but he isn’t glass either. Y’all need to quit painting your dogs nails and dressing them in designer dog wear and get a damn life. She made a mistake (she let some dumb ass take a picture and post it) , she said she was sorry, and she is cooperating with the police. Get over it and leave her the hell alone.

    • Mark Frederick

      Well said! A little research could’ve cleared this whole mess up. Yes, holding up any dog by the tail for a photo op is irresponsible, but I doubt he was hurting at all.

  • Holly

    Maybe she would like to be held up by her ponytail. She’s sorry she got caught. Poor dog…no dog wants to be helded upside down by it’s tail! Honestly, what the he’ll was she thinking.

  • Not racist, not violent, but no longer silent

    I wonder if there was a hallway she could have thrown him down…

    Yes I’m kidding.. you’ll get the joke eventually

  • Mark Frederick

    I’ve been around Dachshunds all of my life as my father bread champions. The Dachshunds body is engineered in a way that the tail is extremely strong. The dogs were, and may still be, used for hunting badgers, foxes etc. If the dog chased a prey down a hole, but the hunter didn’t want it to, he would pull him out by the tail and the dog would be unharmed. The hunter didn’t make it a long drawn out pull, he would release the dog immediately.

    That being said, it is cruel to pick up a Dachshund by the tail for a photo op. Just to hold it there while photogs snap their pictures is senseless and irresponsible.