Old US image circulates online after Turkey earthquake

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Social media users are claiming a dog pictured covered in mud is a rescue animal that saved lives after an earthquake struck Turkey and Syria on February 6, 2023. This is false; the image shows Tryon, a canine who helped search for victims after a 2014 mudslide in the US state of Washington.

"This dog worked all night last night and saved 10 lives," says a February 8, 2023 Facebook post shared more than 7,100 times.

Screenshot from Facebook taken February 9, 2023

Similar posts circulated on other platforms, including Instagram and Twitter. Some credited the dog in the photo with saving "dozens of lives."

The posts come as the United States and other countries send dogs and rescuers to help locate people trapped under the rubble after a 7.8-magnitude earthquake devastated Turkey and neighboring Syria. More than 20,000 people had died as of February 9.

But the dog shown in the picture shared online was involved in a rescue effort that took place almost nine years ago and thousands of miles away in Oso, Washington.

A reverse image search shows the image is featured on stock photo websites and in US news articles about canines who helped search for survivors after a massive landslide hit Oso, northeast of Seattle. The March 22, 2014 incident killed more than 40 people.

Rick Wilking, a freelance photographer for Reuters based in Denver, Colorado, captured the original picture of the dog days after the landslide.

The caption says: "Tryon the rescue dog waits to go through the decontamination area at the mudslide after searching for victims in Oso, Washington March 30, 2014."

AFP fact-checked other posts that falsely link old images of dogs to the 2023 earthquake in Turkey here.