Fur flies over Philippine Facebook puppy pegger

MANILA, Philippines - Animal rights activists and thousands of members of the public expressed outrage Wednesday over a photo on Facebook showing a puppy pegged to a clothes line in the Philippines.

The photo was apparently posted by a young Filipino man on his Facebook account, where he initially ignored reprimands by pet lovers and boasted he would not be jailed for "washing" his dog.

The photo showed a small puppy hanging by five plastic pegs to a clothes line.

After going viral on the Internet, the link was picked up by animal rights activists, including the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which launched an investigation.

"We hope that Philippine prosecutors will take action and prosecute this young man," PETA legal officer Agnes Tam told AFP.

"This is not child's play, this is blatant animal cruelty."

Tam said her organisation had asked police and their local counterparts to help search for the man, who according to his Facebook page lives in a suburban area south of Manila.

While she acknowledged that Internet pranks were common, Tam said she believed it was not a hoax.

The controversy also made national television news, and the man behind the Facebook site took down the offensive photos on Wednesday while offering an apology.

"I hope you could forgive me and I promise it would never happen again," he wrote on his Facebook site on Wednesday morning.

However, thousands of people within the Facebook community refused to forgive, signing up to a plethora of new pages dedicated to expressing their outrage against him.

"Forgive? Never," wrote Melvin John Girado, warning the puppy pegger that he was being hunted down by his college fraternity brothers.

A 1998 law bans cruelty to animals, which is punishable by up to two years in jail.

That law is seldom enforced to its full extent.

However a Manila court last month ordered a university student who tortured and killed a cat, then bragged about it on his online diary, to perform community service.