Pit bulls get a bad rap, whether they deserve it or not. Personally, while I know that some breeds are more genetically predisposed to aggression, I also believe that the way a dog is raised and trained plays a huge role in its behavior. Sadly, the ten pit bulls belonging to young Victoria Wilcher’s grandfather are among those that give the breed a bad name, whether by nature or nurture. Three of them burst into his trailer and mauled the three-year-old’s face.
It’s a horrifically tragic story, but sadly, not all that uncommon. It took a unique twist, however, when the child’s family claimed that a worker in a local KFC restaurant kicked out Victoria because other diners were afraid of the way she looked. The story quickly went viral and the family’s GoFundMe page racked up an impressive $135,000 in donations. KFC itself pledged $30,000, and a Las Vegas doctor offered free medical care.
Only problem is, the whole thing now appears to be a sick, sad hoax. A story in the Laurel Leader-Call raises some very interesting points. Among them: Why did the family initially claim the incident happened at a KFC that’s been out of business for quite a while? Why do surveillance videos at the other two KFCs in the area where it supposedly happened show no traces of Victoria in their restaurant on the day in question? Why is there no record of an order for the specific food items her grandmother claimed to have placed?
People exploiting young children for profit is nothing new, as those who remember the Balloon Boy hoax can attest. In that case, the child himself inadvertently outed his family on national TV, and it later came out that the whole incident was orchestrated to get the family a reality show. Thankfully, in that case the child wasn’t ever in danger. In Victoria’s case, she’s the victim of a horrifying dog attack and, if the hoax allegations are confirmed, she’ll also be known as the center of a pathetic money-grabbing plot. Her family still professes its innocence, but Balloon Boy’s clan does, too. I personally prefer to make my judgement call based on hard evidence.
Sadly, social media makes it easy to milk money from well-intentioned people who blindly open their wallet for the cause of the day, whether it be a lesbian waitress falsely claiming to find a homophobic slur on a receipt or a bullied school bus monitor cashing in to the tune of $700,000. Granted, the latter case wasn’t a hoax, but I can’t help but think that nearly three-quarters of a million dollars could be better spent on any number of charities rather than providing a windfall for a bullied adult, even though the kids’ words were admittedly cruel.
And, worse yet, this whole incident further reinforces pit bull stereotypes. When you come right down to it, why were the dogs in close enough proximity to be able to get near little Victoria? Sounds like a typical human failure to me, but of course it’s the dogs who are vilified. In the meantime, the family is rewarded for making up an allegedly preposterous story and the majority of people probably won’t even hear that it’s a hoax, since that sort of thing is never as juicy as the original Big Bad Corporation tale. And their tale will inspire another fraudster…and another…and another…and the world of viral hoaxes will go on.
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