A fake news story about an 83-year old woman who got arrested for training her cats to steal from the neighbors has gone viral.
The footer on the website clearly says the content is completely made up.
The woman in the photo is actually Helen Staudinger from Florida. She made news in 2011 for shooting at her neighbor because the man would not give her a kiss, Reuters reported.
The website that spread the hoax, World News Daily Report, is responsible for some other fake news hits. One, which got over a million likes, shares, and comments on Facebook, claimed a morgue employee was mistakenly cremated. (He wasn't.)
Another said members of a "midget crime gang" was possibly behind 55 break-ins. (They weren't.)
And another post with over a million Facebook engagements said a woman trained an army of squirrels to attack her ex-boyfriend. (She didn't.)
Many people shared the fake news, including a local radio station in Canada...
...and in Pennsylvania.
Many people who shared the story found it inspiring.
"Dropping out of academia to become a cat lady instead," one person wrote.
"This woman is my new hometown hero," someone else said.
"#CantMakeThisStuffUp," one person tweeted.
Unfortunately, you can. Everyone's favorite cat lady is fake mews.
Jane Lytvynenko is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Toronto, Canada. PGP fingerprint: A088 89E6 2500 AD3C 8081 BAFB 23BA 21F3 81E0 101C.
Contact Jane Lytvynenko at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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