SALT LAKE CITY — A Tennessee police department previously warned residents flushing drugs down their toilets could create drug-addicted animals, including “meth gators.”
However, it turns out that the Facebook warning has no basis in fact.
According to CNN, the Loretto Police Department posted the warning to its Facebook page on July 13 after officers apprehended a suspect who was attempting to flush methamphetamine down a toilet. The police department warned the drugs could end up in sewage treatment ponds, which could then harm ducks, geese and alligators.
“Furthermore, if it made it far enough we could create meth-gators in Shoal Creek and the Tennessee River down in North Alabama,” the post reads. “They’ve had enough methed up animals the past few weeks without our help.”
https://www.facebook.com/242269961917/photos/a.295962761917/10156398962026918/?type=3&theaterMashable later reported that Loretto residents aren’t actually at risk of creating “methed up” alligators any time soon — a fact the police department recently acknowledged was meant as a “joke.”
“Let us be perfectly clear: the meth gator was a humorous illustration used to highlight the dangers of flushing drugs and other substances down your toilet. Alas, the meth-gator is not real. Let’s say that again: THE METH GATOR IS NOT (at this time) REAL. We’ve had to explain that to our cousins across the pond twice,” the follow-up Facebook post reads.
https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=10156411406561918&id=242269961917&__tn__=-RWeirdly enough, the Loretto Police Department is opting to capitalize on the gaffe and announced it would sell “meth-gator” T-shirts to raise money for local charities and schools.
Despite the apology, some outlets are criticizing the department for joking about the serious issue from its position of power in the first place.
AV Club notes the use of “alas” and “at this time” seem like an inappropriate choice of words to use in an apology, while Mashable wrote that the joke was wrong given the police department’s responsibility to provide the public with valuable information.
“It's not cute or funny when the same people tasked with the momentous responsibility of protecting the public go out of their way to make light of drug use or start false rumors about dangerous animals,” Mashable wrote.