Google denied its Google Street View team ran over a donkey in Botswana as it snapped pictures.
A photo emerged from Google Street View in Kweneng, Botswana of what appeared to be a "helpless donkey," according to the Atlantic. Then the image went viral and the accusations mounted against the driver and Google.
"Our Street View teams take the safety of people and donkeys very seriously," a Google spokesperson told
Australia's The News. "A review of our imagery confirms that we did not cause any harm to the donkey."
Google's version of events is that the donkey was lying in the road and got up as the vehicle approached, which happened off-camera. Twitterers denied this, saying that it appeared the donkey was hit by the Google vehicle and left on the road.
Looking at the photos (and the writer grew up around horses) we can safely say that horses, mules and donkeys like to roll around in the dirt. (It's usually called a dust bath.) A donkey is a also a large animal and if a vehicle hit the animal head on, there would be some major damage to the vehicle -- not to mention that the vehicle would have to be a tank to have run over it. If the vehicle hit the donkey, the donkey would have been tossed across the road from the impact rather than flying underneath the wheels. Instead it looks like the vehicle slowed or stopped and the donkey got up and left -- much like Google suggested.
Published at 2:44 PM PST on Jan 15, 2013