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Families ‘mentioned in relation to Sparky’ become targets of ‘vile online abuse’

Heightened emotions over the death of an 11-week puppy in Co Armagh last weekend have led some people coming “dangerously close” to committing offences on social media.

A 23-year-old man appeared at Craigavon Court on Wednesday charged in connection with the death of the puppy, called Sparky.

Kyle Keegan, 23, of Gilpins Manor, Lurgan was brought to court in a police van and appeared in the dock, flanked by officers.

He had been charged on Tuesday night in connection with the death of Sparky, earlier described by police as “horrendous”. A 16-year-old had been freed on bail pending further enquiries.

The death of the adorable puppy has led to outrage and horror and has been making headlines since the news first emerged earlier this week.

Social media has been awash with comments from members of the public.

But tonight (Wednesday), the PSNI in Craigavon cautioned people to be careful, warning they could be committing an offences which would warrant action having to be taken against them.

Calling for common sense on social media, police advised: “It is becoming apparent that the families of those mentioned in relation to the Sparky incident are being targeted for some vile online abuse. There are also several people coming dangerously close to offences in terms of what they post on social media sites.

“This isn’t going to be a long winded debate on the rights and wrongs of voicing your opinion, simply a fair and clear warning: The law and due process is what flies in this country, not vigilante violence.

“If we receive complaints of misuse of a communications network (that can be a vile or threatening message on Facebook) or of harassment, then we will have to investigate it.

“This case currently has ONE suspect who has been charged. Do not go and add yourself to that list unnecessarily. If we receive complaints, we have no choice but to investigate them.

“How this goes forward is not our choice, but YOUR choice. Keep vigilante views to yourself, do not make threats or expressions of desires for violence, do not contact the families or anyone you think may be involved, or else your next conversation may be with us over an interview room table.

“The suspect is arrested, charged, in court and now in prison. Leave it to the courts.

“To do otherwise is not worth it.”

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