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10 old pictures of dogs misrepresented in Turkey-Syria earthquake

Claims include the dogs in the pictures saved numerous people

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Claim: Numerous pictures of dogs have surfaced on the Internet with the claim they were part of rescue operations following the devastating Turkey-Syria earthquakes in February 2023.

Fact: Many of these photos are not recent or related to the Turkey-Syria earthquakes in February 2023.

On 6 February 2023, Turkey and Syria were hit by two severe earthquakes — measuring 7.8 and 7.5 on the Richter magnitude scale — leaving over 37,000 people dead, as of writing time, and flattening hundreds of buildings.

First photograph

Claim

On 13 February 2023, Twitter user @AriaaJaeger posted a picture (archive) of a muddied dog standing on a road with a leash around its neck. Ariaa — who has a legacy verified account — captioned the image as follows:

“This dog in Turkey found and saved 10 people in one shift. Their ability to smell far exceeds current technology. Dogs are more sensitive than many humans and they love unconditionally. Be like a dog. ❤️🐶”

Fact or fiction

Soch Fact Check used reverse image search tools to ascertain that the picture is from March 2014 and shows Tryon, a rescue dog from the United States who was part of a search for victims of a mudslide in Washington.

The picture is available on the British stock photography agency Alamy’s website (archive) and credited to photographer Rick Wilking. It is captioned as follows:

“Tryon the rescue dog waits to go through the decontamination area at the mudslide after searching for victims in Oso, Washington March 30, 2014.”

Second photograph

Claim

The second image (archive), posted by Twitter user @gtwesigye619, shows a dog wearing protective goggles and shoes. The tweet is captioned as follows:

“Thumbs up to all the service dogs in Turkey doing Search and rescue 🛟#dogs”

Fact

Soch Fact Check found the image in a 23 September 2017 (archive) story by Time titled, “Meet Frida the Mexican Rescue Dog Who Is Saving Lives in Natural Disasters.” It is captioned as follows:

“Frida, a rescue dog belonging to the Mexican Navy, with her handler Israel Arauz Salinas, takes part in the effort to look for people trapped at the Rebsamen school in Mexico City, on September 22, 2017, three days after the devastating earthquake that hit central Mexico. OMAR TORRES—AFP/Getty Images.”

We found the original picture (archive) on Getty Images, where it is credited to photographer Omar Torres.

Third photograph

Claim

Twitter user @Jasmine24688377 (archive) posted a picture of a dog holding its paw next to the hand of its guardian, a human who appears to have been trapped under rubble. The tweet is captioned as follows:

“A dog cries for the rescue of its owner from the rubble of Turkey’s earthquake…”

Fact

Soch Fact Check found the picture on the British stock photography agency Alamy’s website here (archive). The image, which was uploaded on 18 October 2018 and is credited to photographer Jaroslav Noska, is captioned as follows:

“Dog looking for injured people in ruins after earthquake.”

The image is also available on Adobe Stock (archive) and Shutterstock (archive).

Fourth photograph

Claim

The fourth image was tweeted by @domdyer70 (archive).

It shows at least four rescue dogs standing alongside emergency response officers.

Fact

The photo is available on Turkish media outlets Ensonhaber (archive) and Star (archive) in articles published 20 November 2020.

The stories were about the search dogs who helped during emergency relief operations after the 2020 Aegean Sea earthquake that also hit Turkey’s Izmir city.

Fifth photograph

Claim

This image by @gyanjarahatke (archive) shows a brown dog walking through the rubble, looking for survivors.

@gyanjarahatke — who has a verified blue check mark because it is subscribed to Twitter Blue, an $8-a-month service — captioned the photo as follows:

“Dogs are working day and night to save people’s lives in Turkey and Syria ❤️ Hero 😘 #TurkishEarthquake”

Fact

We found the photo in two tweets — 31 October 2020 (archive) and 3 November 2020 (archive) — both in connection with the 2020 earthquake in Izmir.

The photo was also included in a now-deleted tweet originally posted on 31 October 2020. It is accompanied by the following caption:

“Bu hayvanları sadece işimiz olduğunda sevelim işimiz olmadığında sokağa atalım veya zehirleyelim olmasın sahip çıkalım, unutmayalım onlar da bir can. [Let’s love these animals only when we have a job, let’s throw them out on the street or poison them when we don’t have a job, let’s not forget that they are a life too.]”

Lastly, it also appeared on social content website, Onedio, in a 1 November 2020 article (archive).

Sixth photograph

Claim

A sixth photo, posted by Twitter user @Farrukh Rz (archive), shows a man in a turban kissing a dog’s paw. The picture is captioned as follows:

“One of the loveliest and rarest pictures we have ever seen ! Turkish #imam Juma is kissing hands of a #Dog who saved 3 people during the #TurkeyEarthquake

Fact

We first found a similar photo in a 3 January 2012 blog (archive), but it shows a different man, so we reverse-searched it again and were led to a 27 October 2011 article (archive) by Polish tabloid Super Express, titled “POZNAŃ: Były ksiądz, Tomasz Jaeschke odszedł z kościoła, żeby zbawiać psy [POZNAŃ: Former priest Tomasz Jaeschke left the church to save dogs]”.

We looked up Tomasz Jaeschke, went to his website called Animal Spirit Church (archive), and found the picture in the ‘About Me’ section.

Soch Fact Check found the earliest instance of the photo published in an article here on University of Malta Senior Lecturer Dr Andrew Azzopardi’s blog — 14 October 2011 (archive) — and the first upload on Wikimedia Commons on 11 October 2011 (archive) by user Palukku, with ‘Own Work’ as the source.

Seventh photograph

Claim

Facebook user ‘Ferdoz Kennel’ posted a photo (archive) showing a rescue dog barking amid rubble on 7 February 2023.

The image is accompanied by the hashtags: #goldenretriever, #goldenretrieverpuppy, #turkey, #earthquake and #TurkeyEarthquake.

Fact

Soch Fact Check found through reverse image search tools that the picture is not recent but from 4 January 2019.

It is available at the Canadian royalty-free stock photography company iStock’s website here (archive), where it is credited to photographer Jaroslav Noska. It can also be found on Adobe Stock (archive).

Eighth photograph

Claim

This photograph (archive) by Facebook user ‘Duncan Cochrane’ shows a dog walking out of the rubble as rescue officials look ahead.

The image is accompanied by a caption explaining why dogs are part of rescue work.

Fact

The earliest instance of the image we found online was in a 30 April 2015 article by The Guardian (archive), where it is credited to photographer Roberto Schmidt for Getty Images.

We found the picture on Getty Images here (archive), with the following caption:

“A US K9 dog searches through the rubble in Kathmandu for a live human scent as Nepalese and US search and rescue teams watch him on April 30, 2015. The US team was looking for two more survivors who were allegedly speaking with rescued teenager Pemba Lama, who was pulled out of the rubble hours earlier. His was rescue hailed as a miracle by medics and met with cheers from crowds of bystanders who massed to watch the drama unfold. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)”

Ninth photograph

Claim

Facebook user ‘Franklin D Ohlin’ posted a picture (archive) of a black-and-brown dog in a yellow jacket, linking it to the rescue operations following the Turkey-Syria earthquake. The following caption accompanies the post:

“It’s come to This…frankly “Smile” the Rescue Dog …  Working member of Hungarian search and rescue team sent to southern Turkey earthquake zone..”

Fact

Our reverse image search led us to iStock’s website, where the picture (archive) — credited to Ирина Мещерякова, or Irina Meshcheryakova — was uploaded on 14 March 2020.

Meshcheryakova describes themself as “a photographer and videographer of dogs” and has uploaded images of the same dog from different angles here (archive), here (archive), and here (archive) on Shutterstock, where they go by the name ‘Masarik’.

Tenth photograph

Claim

Yet another image (archive) shows a light-coloured dog looking for survivors in debris.

Facebook page ‘Elizabeth Wittelsbach’ posted it and included four hashtags — #turkey and #earthquake — in its caption.

Fact

However, we found that this is a picture of the same dog who was photographed by Jaroslav Noska.

The image was uploaded on Alamy’s website here (archive) on 18 October 2018 and carries the same caption as the other one by Noska: “Dog looking for injured people in ruins after earthquake.”

The picture is available on Shutterstock (archive) and Adobe Stock (archive) as well.

Death of Proteo

It is, however, important to mention that a search-and-rescue dog named Proteo has indeed died (archive), the country’s Secretaría de la Defensa Nacional confirmed on 12 February.

Proteo had arrived with a rescue team from Mexico to help in the emergency operations in Turkey.

Virality

Soch Fact Check has found the pictures here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here on Twitter.

The pictures we investigated were also found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here on Facebook.

Conclusion: All of the photos we found and investigated are old and not related to the 2023 earthquakes in Turkey and Syria.

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