Facebook hoax: New trend at dog parks, nails in pieces of cheese

Scammers are pushing a sick hoax on Facebook, trying to warn users that dog owners should watch out for a supposedly malicious new trend.

Facebook users are warning each other that dog owners need to keep an eye out for a horribly twisted prank: pieces of cheese with nails in them, strategically left in dog parks. While these people likely have good intentions, the truth is that this is a hoax and there isn't any proof that this is really happening.

Until just recently, I was a dog owner myself, and this hoax makes me sick to my stomach. The "warning" comes in the form of one of the following messages:

New trend at dog parks, nails in pieces of cheese, if you take your dogs to dog parks, please be careful!!

DOG PARK ALERT: We have received two notices. (1) Nails wrapped in cheese at dog parks in Chicago and Massachusetts (see pic). (2) from some friends that in Augusta Maine dog park, antifreeze is being found in doggie water bowls. Please beware and be careful and PLEASE SHARE and spread the word

This hoax is spreading like wildfire on Facebook, despite there being any actual information. As Sophos points out, this actually happened in a park in Buenos Aires, Argentina. That's where the image is from: check out this Perfil report form July.

In other words, this is definitely not a "new trend." That being said, while this is an isolated incident and people need not be overly worried about it, dog owners should still be cautious about food that can be potentially poisonous to a dog. They should always keep an eye out and try to train their pets to respond to the "leave it" command.

As a general word of caution, don't believe everything you read on the Internet. Also, don't blindly copy and paste warnings just because your Facebook friend's status tells you to do so. Although you probably mean well, you could be helping a hoax become more popular on the social network.

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