Old photos of dogs in rubble spread after quake in Turkey and Syria

February 6, 2023 GMT

CLAIM: A photo of a dog moving through rubble, and another of a dog lying next to the arm of someone trapped under rubble, were taken after the earthquake that struck Turkey and neighboring Syria on Monday.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The images were taken more than four years ago and can be found on stock photography websites, where they are credited to a Czech photographer.

THE FACTS: Photographs supposedly showing the dogs searching for people in the aftermath of the severe earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria on Monday have spread widely on Twitter and Instagram, shared in both Spanish and English.

One photo features a golden-haired dog lying next to a person almost completely buried in rubble except for their arm. An Instagram user shared the photo Monday with the caption, “The little heroes will save many lives. Pray for Turkey.” The post received more than 9,000 likes.

Twitter users shared that photograph and another that shows a different dog moving amid rubble. One Twitter user shared the two photographs and wrote in Spanish, “These two creatures try to help and rescue the injured, after the terrible earthquake in Turkey.”

But the photos are years old. A reverse image search shows that the photos can be found on stock image sites such as Alamy, where they are credited to Czech photographer Jaroslav Noska and dated Oct. 17, 2018. The photos can also be found on Shutterstock.

The location where the photographs were taken is not specified on any of the websites distributing the images. Noska did not immediately respond to the AP’s request for comment.

The 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck southeastern Turkey and Syria during the early hours Monday toppled thousands of buildings and killed more than 3,400 people, the AP reported. Hundreds of families were believed to remain under the rubble, and the death toll could rise as rescuers searched through the wreckage in cities and towns.

Multiple countries, including Greece and the Czech Republic, have sent dogs and rescuers to Turkey to aid rescue efforts following the earthquake.


This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.