HOUSTON—A Facebook hoax that casts a pair of innocent brothers as violent dog abusers has them worried about threats now being rained down upon them.
The angry phone calls started coming early Saturday morning. They were strange at first, then increasingly ominous and even life-threatening.
"It terrified us," said Oscar Lumbreras. "We had to leave the house. They might be in the next room, my driveway or behind my house. Anywhere."
Investigators say Lumbreras is the victim of an Internet hoax, in which someone made a fake Facebook using his brother’s name to brag about killing dogs to keep them from barking. Graphic photographs of dead dogs are also included in the posting, which has since been removed.
"It created a firestorm, where from one end of the country to the other, these people have been inundated with phone calls because of postings on a Facebook page that had been set up in their name that wasn’t theirs," said Deputy Thomas Gilliland, spokesperson for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
"The kid in the photo is about 20 years old. I’m 41 and my brother’s 40," said Lumbreras. "And this kid looks skinny. As you can see, I’m pretty heavyset and my brother is too."
Oscar and younger brother Chris used to share the same address, and that’s apparently how outraged Internet users tracked down the number and began calling.
Lumbreras has a dog of his own and he can't imagine why anyone would stoop so low.
"They don’t love themselves," said Lumbreras, of the person responsible for the photos. "They don’t have love for nobody. These poor little animals, they don’t have anyone to defend them."
Lumbreras himself is left to defend his family against the anger of an online world.
The investigation into who posted the fake Facebook page continues.