WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – A picture of a dog being hanged inside a dog grooming business in Wilmington is going viral on social media.
Tim Suggs posted the picture on Facebook Tuesday, who posted he had worked at the Olga's Dog Spa for several years.
According to owner Olga Glover Littleton, Suggs was fired Saturday for stealing $10 from the business.
"In retrospect I probably should have not said anything about that $10, because it's probably been the most expensive $10 I've ever confronted anybody on."
Littleton claims Suggs posted this photo as a way to sabotage her and the business.
"I felt like Paula Dean where you just can't defend yourself," said Littleton. "There's no way to defend yourself, and you know when something is put like this on you, you can never get it off."
According to Littleton, the incident happened years ago. Suggs was 18 at the time and thought it would be funny. Littleton was adamant Suggs would never intentionally hurt or abuse any of the dogs.
She said she was writing on the board and turned around to see the dog hanging by a harness.
"I told Tim, 'Put the dog down!' and that's all I remember," Littleton recalled. "I think he took a picture, and I never thought of it since. It was years ago."
Littleton explained the dog, Vinny, was known around the doggie daycare as "Super Dog." Another employee claims Suggs wanted to see "Super Dog" fly.
"He thought it was cute. I thought it was in poor taste," said Littleton. "I told him take the dog down. It's like I didn't believe what I was seeing."
Vinny was not injured during this incident. Littleton explained he was wearing a harness and the leash was looped under his arms.
"I know the dog wasn't hurt at all - not at all," said Littleton. "I feel like Tim was rough-housing and he took it too far."
The business owner said she handled the situation and reprimand Suggs for his actions then sent him back to work.
Littleton admits the photo circulating is disturbing and can understand the way people are reacting.
"I take 100 percent responsibility for everything that happens here, my name is on the building. And if you can't be responsible, don't have your own business," said Littleton. "I take 100 percent responsibility. I always have, always will."
Littleton plans to retire at the end of March and is upset she will go out with a tarnished reputation.
"It's horrifying. There's so much stigma attached to this once you're labeled animal abuser," said Littleton. "It goes against everything I do...It's not a career. It's not a business. It's a calling. It's the only thing in life I would do for free and most of the time I do."
New Hanover County Animal Control is investigating the situation. The Sheriff's Office has also assigned a detective to the case to investigate any criminal charges.