The dog was left with its owner after an investigator found no evidence of neglect

By Amy Jamieson
Updated October 02, 2015 06:42 PM

A Salisbury, North Carolina, woman was arrested and charged with animal cruelty after she posted Facebook photos of her dog’s muzzle taped shut.

Rowan County police said in a statement emailed to PEOPLE, that on Sept. 30, someone reported that Kimberly Ann Howell had duct-taped her dog’s muzzle shut because she was upset over the dog’s barking, and posted photos of it on Facebook on Sept. 28 with the caption, “hah hah.”

Investigator Ryan Barkley was assigned to the case and he went to Howell’s home to check in on the pet.

When he was there Howell stated that “she thought it would be funny to wrap the duct tape around her dog’s mouth, and that she had in fact taken a couple of photos which she did post on Facebook,” the statement says.

Howell told Barkley that she immediately began receiving harassing comments via Facebook and took the photos down. Barkley, who deemed the dog “healthy” and saw no indication of abuse or neglect, advised Howell that it was “unacceptable” to seal a dog’s mouth shut. She was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of cruelty to animals and for two older traffic charges.

After a consult with animal control, the dog was left at Howell’s home.

“Since there were no apparent injuries or signs of neglect or mistreatment, the dog was left in the custody of Ms. Howell, but she was informed that a follow-up visit could take place at any time to check on the condition of the dog,” the police statement says.

Howell — who was released on $2,000 bond for the animal cruelty charge and $1,000 for the traffic charges — has a court date of Nov. 4.