Watch out for fake animal rescue videos on YouTube

Scared stray kitten in the Philippines (2019)

Scared stray kitten in the Philippines (2019) photo taken by inspiremari.nl

Scared stray kitten in the Philippines (2019) photo taken by inspiremari.nl

I had been watching animal rescue videos from the same three channels for about a week on YouTube, when YouTube started recommending me more videos from other channels. This is how I stumbled upon a very suspiciously filmed video of a puppy next to train tracks, yelping and unable to walk. With no more in the description box than ‘A farmer called that this dog was found’, I continued watching.

The first few minutes of the video were spent filming the helpless dog and filming a guy walking along the train tracks with a basket, until he finally goes over to the dog, and, after a little while, picks him up and puts him into the basket.

With the dog actually being injured, I was inclined to believe the guy sincerely helped the animal. However, after reading other people’s observations in the comments section as well as watching a few more videos of the same guy ‘rescuing’ dogs, I’m inclined to believe it was all set up to get views and therefore money via YouTube.

Shortly after, I was recommended a video of someone talking about fake dog rescue videos, with the guy in the video showing clips from another channel with staged rescue scenarios. From a puppy being stuck in a piece of Styrofoam to a puppy being strangled by an actual python.

I’ve also found a video where a puppy was supposedly bitten by an older dog, but it looked more like a knife cut. Other than that, I’ve found some information on people using a kitten to record rescue videos, whereby the kitten presumably died, as they crushed it under rocks to ‘rescue’ it from. The video would then show a two week later status update of the kitten being completely fine, but people speculate with their common sense that that was simply an earlier recording of the kitten. As when the kitten was crushed by the rocks, flies were already attacking it and it was foaming from the mouth. These are pre-death stages that I don’t think the kitten can be saved from anymore, let alone by a random stranger who never recorded taking the kitten to the vet.

It is absolutely despicable to think that people would actually hurt animals to seemingly ‘rescue’ them, only to gain money through the popularity they gain with these actions.

Through this post, I would like to raise awareness of these fake animal rescue videos. While these videos are very emotional, please try to keep a sharp mind and pay attention to the details. Read the comments to see if any people observed any strange things about the video. And be sure to report the video/channel to YouTube if you’re certain that it concerns a fake animal rescue operation.

How to recognize a fake animal rescue video

I’ve made a small list of things to pay close attention to when you watch a dog rescue video or other animal rescue video on YouTube.

  • First of all, I think the most obvious sign of a fake animal rescue video is that it appears staged. For example, the footage shows an injured animal and someone seemingly minding their own business, acting surprised when it finds a stuck or injured animal.

  • If the rescuers are taking a long time to help the animal, or appear to be struggling/tugging around/not knowing what to do, you may be watching a fake video.

  • What are they doing to help the animal? Are they bringing it to a vet? Are they showing the treatment or check-up the animal is getting?

  • Is there more information? Hopefully the video contains more than just an emotional song with no text or explanation on where the animal came from, who called for help, is the helper a non-profit organization?

Again, please keep an open mind while watching these super emotional videos. Do not continue watching the videos if you believe they are fake rescue videos – the more viewers they get, the more money they will make. By interacting with such content, you are indirectly supporting the abuse of animals. After all: if they gain from it in any way, they have no reason not to continue doing it.