Claim: A Facebook user posted a clip of a man who transformed himself into a dog with $14,000.
Verdict: The claim is misleading. Findings revealed that Toco, a Japanese man involved, was cladded in a “hyper-realistic costume,” which he purchased for over $15,000.
EmmyG, a Facebook user, recently shared a clip with an assertion that a man who has transformed himself into a dog with $14,000 was stepping out for his first walk in public.
In the forty-four seconds video, an unnamed woman was seen taking a video pose with the dog amidst passersby.
Since posted on July 29, 2023, this claim has attracted 1.3 million views, 18,000 likes, 4,900 shares and 4,800 contrasting comments.
Body modification may no longer be news across the globe. However, that a human being could completely transform himself into an animal was what pricked the interest of other users like Michael Egbayelo, who expressly doubted the claim’s truthfulness.
In the comment section, he said, “This story can’t be true. No technology in this world can reduce the height of a man unless by amputation. So how will a man reduce to the height of a dog?”
Like Mr Egbayelo, another user, Emmanuel Austin Emeka, said that he would not accept the story as truthful.
“I don’t believe that story, this is just another breed of dog…. We can’t believe all stories in social media,” he typed.
Recognising the claim’s sensitive nature and the potential danger of misinformation it carries, DUBAWA opted to verify its accuracy.
After carefully examining the video, DUBAWA noticed some behaviours that are not typical of a dog. For instance, this particular one leapt while lying on the ground rather than walking upright. Aside from that, it neither gave a facial movement nor opened its mouth even though it rolled on the floor at the beckon of the woman with it.
Following these first sets of red flags, we probed further by conducting a keyword search on Google. This led our findings to several articles about a certain “Toco,” a Japanese man who went viral in 2022 after buying a dog costume with over $15,000 “in a bid to appear as an animal.”
According to Mirror, a UK-based news platform, he spent about two million Yen, equivalent to £12,480, “to look exactly like his favourite breed of canine.”
Said to be his lifelong dream, Toco “bought a realistic border collie costume from Zeppet, a Japanese agency known for creating sculptures and models for movies.”
A similar story was reported here, here and here. It was also said that he owns a 51.6k subscribers YouTube channel, which he named “I want to be an animal.” In its description, he wrote, “I wanted to be an animal, so I became a rough collie! This channel will bring you videos of such an unusual rough collie.”
Toco uploaded his first video wearing the dog suit on April 12, 2022. So far, he has posted 37 videos of himself wearing this costume.
His latest upload, “Dogs and people’s reactions to seeing a realistic dog costume!” made him go viral again. Presently, it already has over 6 million views.
According to reports, Toco is a Japanese man who dreamed of becoming an animal. Although he now looks like one, he has only achieved his goal by purchasing a costume resembling a dog. The claim that a man has transformed himself into a dog is, therefore, misleading.