Dan Tillery's life was good. He had recently acquired his first home and moved into it with his long-term girlfriend, Megan. His life was that of many people's dreams, and the working musician probably had to pinch himself at night. However, no house is complete without a cute little doggy, and being dog lovers themselves, they knew that all too well.
So after making the admirable decision to adopt a rescue dog, they were delighted to have a new addition to their family, and the couple took many innocent selfies. However, when Dan put one online, their lives changed in ways they could never have imagined.
The image went viral. It was, after all, an adorable, goofy photo of an owner and his dog, so it was little surprise that it was so well-received because who doesn't like those kinds of pictures? Well, not everyone it seems.
Indeed the photo also attracted unwanted attention, leading to a knock on the door the following day.
Speaking about his reasoning behind wanting a dog in the first place, Dan said," “[My girlfriend and I] have been wanting a dog forever, but the place we were renting would not allow dogs. We just recently purchased our first home. All ours. And dogs are allowed,” Tillery said when speaking to the Oakland Press.
So with little hesitation, Dan headed straight to the Detroit Dog Rescue.
Astonishingly, the stray he eventually adopted had been there for 100 days since being found abandoned in the Detroit, Michigan, area, and Dan knew instantly that Sir Wiggelton would be coming home with him even before seeing him.
In fact, Dan's first glimpse of his new friend came via an uber-cute photo of the dog with his head cocked and tongue sticking out.
After much negotiation with his girlfriend, Dan adopted the dog, and after years wanting one, Dan finally had a dog of his own.
Thus, Dan was elated to finally be taking Sir Wiggelton- or Diggy as they nicknamed him- home and he wasn't shy about taking as many selfies as possible to share with friends and family. Yet it was one image that would soon bring unwanted attention to Diggy and himself.
But why? After all, all Tillery and Diggy were doing were grinning from ear-to-ear, and all Dan wanted to highlight were the benefits that can come from rescuing a dog, and one particular photo was even posted in honor of the Detroit Dog Rescue team to highlight the positive impacts adoption can have.
Within a matter of hours the photo garnered an incredible 24,000 likes.
Captioning the photo, Dan wrote, "We know this photo is going to break the internet and we apologize, but we had to share." It then went onto explain a little of Diggy's back story, "After almost 100 days in the shelter, Sir Wiggleton just got adopted. Sir Wiggleton and his new Dad are celebrating adoption day with huge smiles all around!”
Though they expected the photo to be shared with as many people as possible, Dan and his girlfriend were still amazed by the positive reaction the playful photo received.
But that amazement wouldn't last long.
The next day, Dan Tillery received an unexpected knock on the door from two officers working for the Waterford Police Department.
As the photo had become such a media sensation, the local police department easily caught wind of the picture, not only because it was cartoonishly cute but because it appeared Diggy was part pit bull.
Banned in many areas of America, owning the breed is considered incredibly dangerous, and the breed has been put on the "dangerous dogs list" in the area of Tillery in Waterford Township.
Of course, Dan was quick to convince officers that Diggy was no danger whatsoever. “When they went to the gate [to] actually see him, he licked their face, was very kind,” he said to WWJ. “They said, we’re dog lovers, that’s cool, he seems like a good boy. Took some pictures of him.”
But Diggy’s welcoming nature wasn't going to stop the officers from doing their job and carrying out orders. And though his adoption papers claimed he was an American Bulldog, officers concluded that Diggy was also part pit bull.
Devastatingly, Dan and his girlfriend were given three days to part ways with Diggy.
It may have sounded harsh, but as the local police department stressed, they were merely doing their job “From our standpoint, it’s a pretty clear case of an ordinance that makes it clear what’s permissible and what’s not. Our job is to enforce the ordinance,” Scott Underwood, a chief officer, told the Oakland Press.
So Dan had little choice, and if he didn't comply with their orders, he'd face a $500 fine. Still, as the photo had notched up thousands of likes online, Dan Knew Diggy had a loyal fan base, and as well as being outraged by his predicament, he realized that going back online could be the best way to save his dog from being put down.
So rather than succumb to the situation, Dan pressed ahead with an online petition to get people behind Diggy's cause.
Informing users of the situation he was quick to assure everyone that things would be resolved. “Don’t worry, Diggy is safe at home with me and his momma,” he wrote on Facebook. “My lawyer and I are going to do everything possible to make sure Diggy stays in his home with us, his family. Thanks for all of your support, guys. I’m not a quitter.”
But it wouldn't be just any battle. It would last a total of three months, with town officials adamant that Diggy was a pit bull and should therefore not be at Dan's house.
But in time, and after countless lawyer meetings and debates between police and town officials, the case ended in a heated town meeting debate.
Incredibly, Diggy's online petition had garnered over 111,000 signatures, and with sound arguments from Dan's lawyers, officials shocked everyone by allowing Diggy to remain in the hands of his loving owners!
It was an arduous process, but at last, the couple had won a case that many believe they wouldn't.
After the hearing, Dan took to Facebook. "We get to keep our boy. He’s a good boy," Dan wrote.
Wow! We don't know about you, but we feared the worst when we first heard Diggy's situation! Thank god they got to keep him!
Have you had any similar experiences with any of your pets? If so we'd love to hear about them in the comments section below.