Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Category: Journalism

“Furries in Schools” Hoax Map documents a moral panic to attack LGBT people by proxy.

by Patch O'Furr

False reports about students “identifying as animals” and demanding unusual accommodations are like a resurrection of the 1980’s Satanic Panic. The public is being targeted with a wave of misinformation and greedy grabbing for views, at the expense of furry fans, public education, and LGBTQ people in general.

What better way to face bullying than to document it, and connect debunkers outside the community to watchdogs inside? Responsible journalists, take note!

Here’s a new resource from Troj, a furry fan, psychologist and researcher from Colorado: “I started making a map of school boards and regions that have courted the “litter box” myth and related urban legends about furries.” (They’re mainly American myths, but even reach Australia.)

Each point on the map has a note with details (check them for links to sources), and date of media coverage or earliest mention of a given urban legend. Similar myths are roughly grouped by color. They keep coming: at date of writing, one in North Carolina is too fresh to appear yet.

Troj sometimes collaborates with the Furscience data study group, but this isn’t anyone else’s endeavour, it’s personal curiosity. Troj explains:

“After coming across a flurry of social media posts and news articles about the urban myth, I was interested to see where it was popping up, when it first emerged, and how it appeared to be traveling, and thought of using the map to try to get a sense of any path or pattern. There is definitely a transphobic thread here that is VERY, VERY INTENTIONAL.

Look at all the huffing and puffing about children “identifying as” animals, and look at the way people are talking about the schools accommodating them. Also, that people (erroneously and foolishly) believe that the schools would conceal/lie about extending accommodations to a group of students — this seems ridiculous on its face — but makes sense when you realize these same people are outraged by even the possibility that a teacher or other adult might conceal a child’s “coming out” from the parents, usually for the child’s privacy and safety from backlash.

This is being peddled very intentionally and knowingly by conservatives who either know it’s bullshit, or really don’t care, as it allows them to sow hysteria and hatred against LGBTQ people (including kids) and their families.”

Troj’s map coincides with high-charting sales and marketing for a book by far-right propagandist Matt Walsh. It echoes these myths and shows that loud liars aren’t just peddling political hate, they’re milking their gullible base for cash to raise careers. It’s as forced and strategic as any other campaign to demonize whole groups for gain.

Why shouldn’t people make fun of furries though? How is a fandom like an identity? Because it’s not for fun, it’s using an “acceptable” proxy to shield the agenda. Attackers are setting up dominos with the same old revanchist hate against minority groups and civil rights down the line.

Troj is just a dinosaur with a pet project, but has a serious message about community good on the scales:

“On top of conflating and confusing furries, therians, and otherkin — in addition to employing this obvious urban myth as a wedge to attack trans kids and adults (and the rest of the queer community) — I fear the potential fallout on geeky, awkward, and neurodivergent kids who may be targeted by both peers and adults in the wake of these legends. If the kid who wears cat ears and Naruto-runs through the halls is perceived as not just a garden-variety oddball, but even more, an agent of the “culture war”; imagine how that child might be treated not just by their peers who’ve heard the rumors, but by the hysterical adults who’ve believed them! That’s what worries me. I’ve seen people make some quite unhinged, very worrisome comments on forums about what needs to be done “to” or “about” these “furry children.”

If you actually talk to the targets, it’s hard to demonize them as threatening monsters but simultaneously helpless victims who need authority to clamp down. They look like creative thinkers on successful college paths. Right wingers, leave those kids alone.

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Origins of an urban legend: “litter boxes for furries” joke gets revived for moral panic

by Patch O'Furr

Update: Thanks to The Daily Beast for linking this and quoting me. – Patch

No school ever had litter boxes for students who identify as animals. So how did the rumor explode into mainstream consciousness, like bad diarrhea from a diet of concern trolling and right-wing blogs?

In January 2022, the malodorous myth rose from local news in Michigan to the New York Times: Litter Boxes for Students Who Identify as Furries? Not So, Says School Official. Furries in the Times is a rare achievement. (Check the 1996 example at bottom of this story.) That isn’t simply debunking, it also has cultural potency for a post-truth era full of flat-earthism and Qanon cults.

I can’t count how many headlines there were about one incident. One is just absurd, but it keeps happening. That shows cynical calculation by Otherphobes. They’re demonizing minorities by proxy, with a target behind the target. It’s a cousin to transphobic memes like “I sexually identify as an attack helicopter” using weirdos to make it easier to swallow. But before we digest that, let’s go to the splatter zone and trace the patterns.

At Dogpatch Press, I’m obsessive about tracking media mentions and memes, and we also do debunking — like for a misinterpreted “nazi furries” photo — and I’d been asked to trace the old litter box myth before. So I dug deeper than the mainstream news. Furry News has the real shit.

The oldest mainstream source I found is in this 2008 photo from Anthrocon in Pittsburgh. He’s a broadcaster who likes furries, although it’s complicated.

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Anti-LGBT Russian government morality activist visits and harasses fursuit walkers

by Patch O'Furr

From the fursuit walk in a video posted by Skip Doggy on Russian social media. SEE Q&A at BOTTOM about the walk.

“Here it is – the price to be a representative of the Moscow Furry Fandom.”

Furry fan @Matvey_Muhin has a story that goes with media reports like this one from PinkNews: “Russia considers officially branding LGBT+ groups and furries as ‘extremists’“.

BACKGROUND: The reports look at political homophobia in the Russian government, and a commission that claims to protect morality. The reports say the commission chairman, Andrey Tsyganov, called for the government to help law enforcement by listing ideologies on their extremism list. The list includes the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, and the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) of Alexey Navalny, a jailed opponent of Russian president Vladimir Putin. Listing these groups allows banning related gatherings and media, and Putin has been using it to squash his political foes.

That’s how Tsyganov wants to legally discriminate against LGBT people, supposedly to protect kids from “propaganda” — making it extremist to discuss LGBT people breathing and existing, as if they come from recruiting. The logic shows conservative belief of what a family should be, with a goal to enforce it by squashing LGBT people. Straight families with children are supposed to thrive through this false understanding of how sexuality works. They could just as soon seek power by squashing interracial dating.

Tsyganov started with such a reach, and blasted off from earth like Sputnik when he added LGBT+, radical feminist, child-free groups… and furries.

What’s the problem with furries, again? The logic is: (1) People on the internet make weird porn. (2) Some of them are furries. (3) Fandom freedom includes tolerance for LGBT expression. (4) Kids are in trouble while those exist. Those things don’t necessarily overlap, but it raises stereotyping about non-traditional gender and sexuality. This got furry porn site e621 banned in Russia (an easy target that shows the government was already watching.)

Furries face such attitudes rooted in old bigotry. Of course fandom isn’t exactly an identity, but it makes a community. Targeting their expression is just around the corner from direct homophobia. Compare how in the 1970’s, Disco music was targeted for being made by LGBT and minority people, even if the music itself is just music. So if furries belong on an “extremist” list, imagine getting attacked for dancing to the Ra-Ra-Rasputin song!

@Matvey_Muhin faced this with fellow furry Skip Doggy. He wrote:

“Can you imagine that Andrei Tsyganov came to our furry walk Tsaritsyno, Kolomeskaya. He continued to accuse us of pedophilia in front of children. But Skip drove him away. When a high-level official comes to us personally, it shows his madness. Long story short – the Christian radical and anti-vaxer is attacking us (especially me and Skip). Here it is – the price to be a representative of the Moscow Furry Fandom.”

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Zoosadist investigation: Matthew “Cupid” Grabowsky harasses investigator, gets immediately slapped with child porn conviction

by Patch O'Furr

Content warning for animal abuse and sexual violence. 

In September 2021, Washington furry fan Matthew “Cupid” Grabowsky was convicted for a new charge of child porn possession. He faces up to 20 years in jail. This revives news of his 2019 animal cruelty conviction, which drew protest about his continued presence in the furry fan community. We’ll look into how Cupid was convicted this time, but first let’s look at how this supports a deeper story about a crime ring he was in.

NEW CORROBORATION: 2019 reporting by Dogpatch Press featured Cupid in the headline, and claimed a deeper story.

The 2019 report here covered a big leak of a furry/zoophile crime ring for animal torture porn (zoosadism) and child abuse. Think movie serial-killer-like behavior. Hundreds of hours of investigation found a “matrix of corroboration”. Legal documents for Cupid’s new conviction add more evidence:

  • There’s new disclosure of serious crime predating August 2018; the same time period in the Dogpatch Press report.
  • Cupid’s 2019 conviction was a misdemeanor that let him off easy, indicating he gained a plea deal that let him come back and minimize his crime.
  • Cupid’s 2021 charge led to immediate conviction with a guilty plea. (That can happen from breaking terms of a deal, explaining why it came out now.)
  • The newly disclosed crime involved multiple child victims, even toddlers forced into sexual contact with animals.
  • Victim ID’s hinted in new court documents don’t match other known victims reported to law enforcement; more may keep coming out.

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The dedicated watchdog: Moxxey reports online animal abuse (Part 3).

by Patch O'Furr

CONTENT WARNING – Part (1) A Killer – (2) A Trend – (3) A Watchdog

The frustration is palpable. Moxxey publishes stories of atrocious behavior to animals, but how can it be stopped when huge websites have channels full of it?

Moxxey runs Rodent Club on Livejournal. Livejournal isn’t active like it was years ago, but citizen reporting can start anywhere, and reaching out from there is a good idea for an activist with a purpose. (I think he should also join the Trusted Flaggers in Part (2). And keep sharing cute pet stories for more notice!)

Moxxey returns comments about Part 1-2:

“This is a good start to helping expose and explain the problem that these social platforms are giving to animal cruelty perpetrators, and what needs to be done to fix this. A bit more needs to be said about small animal cruelty regarding hamsters, guinea pigs, rats, mice, rabbits, baby birds, etc. Too often they’re not protected under cruelty laws or seen as not important because they are small creatures.

The Reptile Channel is just one of these horrific channels creating “live feeding” videos under the guise of education. It’s really cruel entertainment for a profit and a very twisted audience. No matter what you try to do to report it on the AI reporting systems for Youtube, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, etc., nothing ever gets done to remove the videos.

Even with an AI system, there’s no excuse for not having proper options to signify that when there’s animal cruelty — it’s time to get a human moderator involved! Facebook seems to have one of the worst reporting systems, which never give the proper option boxes to check, nor an explanation of what’s going on. They almost always respond, “Sorry we did not find the selected post to go against our community guidelines”. 🙁

What is needed is more news coverage by video, news pages and TV to let the public know what’s secretly going on with animal cruelty online.”

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The Zoosadism Channel: A look at a trend of animal abuse on social media (Part 2).

by Patch O'Furr

CONTENT WARNING – Part (1) A Killer – (2) A Trend – (3) A Watchdog

Huge platforms are letting it happen. It’s under their noses, according to this June 2021 report. National Geographic: How fake animal rescue videos have become a new frontier for animal abuse.

That’s disturbing at wide scale, because of how social media attention meets psychological escalation. Part (1) looked into the Omegle Cat Killer, where an investigator said: “Animal abusers have total power over that animal and, if someone is willing to be that cruel to an animal, evidence suggests they may target vulnerable humans as well,” said Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan, FBI Indianapolis.” — Kokomo Tribune

Despite such a warning about the extremes, it seems like the odds are against justice. A standout example among furries was Kero the Wolf, a popular Youtuber exposed in a zoosadist crime ring. The evidence led to arrests, but child abuse was the focus and most members got away with it. Kero’s attempts to gaslight the public about his innocence made him The O.J. Simpson of furries. His presence highlights a gap in the laws.

This part covers the exploitation on social media, and Part (3) will feature someone working to bridge the gap.

A content pool with no lifeguard

In 1940, protest rose up about a horse tumbling over a cliff in a Western movie. It triggered regulation for the industry to stop using animals like disposable props. Now Hollywood movies get American Humane certification by following a 132-page guide. But tech platforms aren’t so regulated.

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The Omegle Cat Killer: A true crime tale of stopping online animal abuse (Part 1)

by Patch O'Furr

CONTENT WARNING for animal abuse – Part (1) A Killer – (2) A Trend – (3) A Watchdog

He had to be stopped. Someone was killing cats and posting the videos online. Internet sleuths were hunting a killer who reveled in taunting them. In December 2019, their story came out on Netflix as Don’t F*ck With Cats. It was one of the year’s most-watched documentaries.

As hard as they tried, identifying the killer wasn’t enough. They felt helpless until he escalated to killing a human victim and mailing the body parts to terror targets. Finally the authorities noticed, and Canadian man Luka Magnotta was caught and convicted. The story suggests that taking animal cruelty seriously could have saved a person, and it showed a trend for attention: “Murderers have become online broadcasters. And their audience is us.

Months after the show, the same trend terrorized the furry fandom and made a new case for the FBI.

More than a copycat

In May 2020, the new Covid-19 situation was turning the world upside down. Stuck in quarantine, furry fans found a way to lift their spirits. They joined a regular event on the Omegle video chat service, using hashtags to meet fellow fans by random connection.

They weren’t expecting to connect to a woman in an animal-skin mask, gripping a bloody skull a little bigger than an egg. It almost looked fake, until she used a finger to pop out an eyeball like a grape.

Whoever was doing this wasn’t just shocking random targets. She knew about the event and targeted them with hashtags like #furries, #fursuit and #furryfandom. It made a trail with sightings of gory animal parts and links to Instagram and Tiktok. It was hard to document live incidents, but alarm spread and reached millions of viewers on Youtube. She got attention she wanted, but where did she come from?

The hype never told the full story. It passed like a blip and Youtubers and blogs quickly forgot. We’ll get to what happened in 2021 — but first, she didn’t just start in 2020 without warning. A path was laid much earlier.

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A Call for Preservation of Sources for Furry Fandom History

by Dogpatch Press Staff

Guest post by Gamepopper, an indie game maker and animation fan in the UK.

As a British furry who was interested in the history of the furry fandom, I couldn’t help but notice most of the subject was centred around the United States. This was the case in all the articles and convention panels I could find, and most blatantly in the book Furry Nation: The True Story of America’s Most Misunderstood Subculture by Joe Strike. This United States focus continues to this day with videos and documentaries such as The Fandom by Ash Coyote discussing the history of the fandom from the beginnings at science fiction and comic book conventions in California.

As a result, I took it upon myself in 2017 to look into my own country’s perspective of the fandom. This part-time hobby of mine culminated into a lecture at ConFuzzled 2019, The History of the Furry Fandom in the United Kingdom, which focused on the growth of the fandom from the earliest known gathering of twenty fans in 1987 to the present day conventions of over two thousand furries. I spoke about the housecons and fanzines in the nineties, furmeets and mailing lists in the noughties, and the British furry conventions and the difficulties getting them off the ground. I also allowed audience members to make comments and ask questions throughout, which you can listen to in the recorded version uploaded to YouTube.

Watching it in retrospect, I’m still proud of the amount of content in the work, in spite of a few factual errors and omissions that a few people have noted. On the day itself, it went over better than I ever anticipated, with a full room of attendees giving a huge round of applause at the end and many furries coming up to me to appraise my work. One of those people thought that the full history should be written down, and, given the amount of work I had already done, I felt up to the task.

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You made it to 2021! — A look back at the Top 20 Furry News stories of last year. (Part 2)

by Patch O'Furr

The Ursa Major Awards are open for nominations! Check the Recommended Anthropomorphics list for stuff to consider.

(Part 1): You made it to 2021! — A look back at the Top 20 Furry News stories of last year.

Here’s more review of last year’s news from Dogpatch Press. These are highlights for this site, and they’re not listed by biggest or most-viewed, it’s a mixed bag of big stories plus inside stuff only a fandom knows.

(11) International animals — What’s life like for a teenage LGBT furry fan in Iran? and Meet Unid, the only known furry from Sri Lanka.

There’s so much going on outside North America. Furry scenes are coming up in Latin America and Southeast Asia. Art is common language for far-flung fans who’d never meet any other way. One in Iran thinks war should be about the best pizza. One in Sri Lanka dreams of coming to a furry con one day.

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You made it to 2021! — A look back at the Top 20 Furry News stories of last year. (Part 1)

by Patch O'Furr

The Ursa Major Awards are open for nominations! Check the Recommended Anthropomorphics list for stuff to consider.

1 Year Ago: Hindsight is 2020 — Top 20 furry news stories of last year

“Covid-kun is a new coronavirus mascot from Thailand who teaches kids to wash their hands and social distance.” — @mondomascots (from There’s a Mascot for That? Cute COVID-19 Education.)

It was a multi-headed monster of a year of disasters. But here you are. Have a review of last year’s news from Dogpatch Press. These are highlights for this site and they’re not listed by biggest or most-viewed, it’s a mixed bag of big stories plus inside stuff only a fandom knows.

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