Google is denying accusations of hit and run against a donkey by one of its Street View cars in Botswana, the LA Times reported Wednesday.
A screen shot of a Google Street View picture depicting a donkey laying on its side on a dirt road went viral, with user accusations that the animal had been incapacitated.
Australian news outlet News.com.au contended that the image, along with additional imagery of the scene provided by Google that News.com.au published without the company’s permission, indicated that the donkey had been knocked on its ass and left for dead.
Google, in a statement, attempted to assure critics that the animal is fine.
“Our Street View teams take the safety of people and donkeys very seriously,” Google said. “A review of our imagery confirms that we did not cause any harm to the donkey.”
The news outlet, however, isn’t buying Google’s story, insisting that the images — according to Google’s version of events — depict the donkey walking backwards, which would be a feat News.com.au turned to a zoologist to confirm was a physical impossibility for donkeys.
The LA Times reported that some Reddit users proposed an alternative explanation: The donkey was laying on the ground covering itself in the dust.