2016 image from Texas falsely shared as dog left behind during Hurricane Idalia

By: Ankita Kulkarni
August 31 2023

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2016 image from Texas falsely shared as dog left behind during Hurricane Idalia


The Verdict False

The image dates back to 2016 and shows a stranded dog in flood waters that was found and rescued in Fort Bend County, Texas.

Claim ID 03ff4947

What's the claim?

On August 30, 2023, Hurricane Idalia made landfall in the Big Bend area, Florida, U.S., as a Category 3 storm with 125 mph winds that brought heavy rainfall. Several videos and images have gone viral on social media, showing flooding and waterlogging. One such post on X included an image of a dog chained in front of a house submerged in flood waters. The caption to the post reads, “A dog is left outside by his owner in the midst of a Category 4 hurricane, Idalia. Please save your pets too, just as you would yourself during evacuations.” The post has garnered 135,200 views and is being shared by several other users with similar narratives. The archive post can be found here and here. 

Screengrabs of claims made online (Source: X/@AttentiveCEE, @VishrutGup23755)

However, the image is old and unrelated to Hurricane Idalia. 

What we found 

Analysis of a screengrab taken from the viral clip led us to a video shared by click2huston.com, a local news outlet in Houston and Texas affiliated with NBC News, published on June 1, 2016. At 1:51 minutes, we see the same frame and the image of a dog in the middle of the flood waters. The report states that after the Brazos River rose to high levels, several areas in Fort Bend County were flooded, and rescue operations were held, during which a chained dog was found in front of a house. It adds that the dog was “barely able to hold its head above water.” It was later rescued and handed over to the Houston Humane Society. 

Comparison between the viral clip and the news video (Source: X/@Insider_Times, Click2huston.com)

We also spotted the same image in a report published by The Independent, dated August 26, 2017, and the image caption stated, “A dog tied up in Fort Bend Country, Texas, during flooding in 2016. It was later rescued. (KPRC2).” A YouTube video uploaded to the channel worldwide news on June 1, 2016, also shows the dog in the same frame as in the viral video and two men rescuing it from the flood waters. The video is captioned, “TEXAS-FLOODING/DOG RESCUE.”

Logically Facts also found a Facebook post shared by the Former County Sheriff of Fort Bend, Troy E. Nehls, on June 6, 2016, that stated he adopted the dog. “I am happy to say the only water this girl will be in now is the swimming pool in my backyard! We picked her up today from the Houston Humane Society. Welcome to the family!” The post included two images, one showing the dog in the flood waters and the second showing the Nehls family posing with the dog.

Screengrab of post by Former County Sheriff of Fort Bend, Troy E. Nehls (Source: Facebook)

The above evidence clarifies that the image is from 2016 Texas floods after rising water levels in the Brazos River near Houston. Following this, an emergency was declared by the Texas governor in 31 counties on June 1, 2016, according to NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Earth Observatory.

The verdict
The image has been on the internet since 2016 and was captured during the floods in Texas. The former County Sheriff of Fort Bend rescued and adopted the dog. It is unrelated to Hurricane Idalia. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false. 

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before