Did the mayor of River City, California, make a proclamation that all dogs must wear face masks to protect them from getting sick or else their owners will be cited by police and fined? No, that's not true: The River City, California, Police Department Facebook Page is a satire page for a fictional city, and satire disclaimers are clearly posted on the page and in the subheading at the top of every post.
The images of a police dog demonstrating the correct way for a person to wear a face mask first appeared in a semi-serious tweet from New Zealand police on August 18, 2021. The photos were repurposed and resurfaced in a satirical post on Facebook by the fictitious River City, California, Police Department on December 3, 2021. The post was captioned:
By proclamation of our mayor, all dogs In the city must have a face covering. Our K9 friends can get sick just like our humans and we must protect them. If your companion is not masked, our officers will cite you. The first offense is a $500 fine. RCPD K9 Kilo shows us the proper way and the not so proper way to wear a mask. Help us help you. Mask up and save your companion's life.
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Dec 7 15:06:32 2021 UTC)
The page transparency information shows the page was created on December 3, 2021, and the "About" section of the page explains:
River City, California Police Department is a fictional city that the California POST uses to depict in training videos and some documentation.
Lead Stories reached out to California POST (Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training) to find out if the satirical River City, California Police Department Facebook page is run by the commission. Public Information Officer Meagan Poulos replied by email on December 7, 2021:
Thank you very much for reaching out and bringing this to our attention. This was not a FB page that was created by us and we will be reporting it. It is true that the River City Police Department is a fictional department that is used in our video training, but [the Facebook page is] not one that we have created or contribute to.
These pictures were first posted on Twitter by New Zealand Police on August 18, 2021. The pictures show a dog named Kase demonstrating proper and improper mask-fitting. The use of the dog model was just for social media attention. The message of the post was authentic encouragement for humans to wear face masks properly, covering nose, mouth, and chin.
A reminder that your face covering should fully cover your nose, mouth and chin when you're out and about. Here's Police dog Kase demonstrating the right and wrong way to wear your mask.-- New Zealand Police (@nzpolice) August 18, 2021
(and no, don't @ us - dogs don't have to wear masks).
More here ➡️ https://t.co/kT3pXHx448 pic.twitter.com/XelFe3vZah