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.
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