Riley Tully, an influencer with nearly six million Instagram followers, is being accused of launching a smear campaign in an effort to extort $300,000 from the Healthy Spot pet groomer in Costa Mesa, CA. Tully, known as the “Meme Queen” on IG, says a Healthy Spot employee accidentally cut her mother’s dog’s tail, severing it all the way to the bone.
The dog, a Pomeranian named Noel, had to be rushed to emergency surgery because her tail was dangling from her body. Tully says four inches of Noel’s tail had to be amputated. Pomeranians are small dogs whose tails aren’t very long to begin with.
Healthy Spot did not deny the accident. In fact, they not only apologized to Tully and her mother Aimee, but they paid Noel’s vet bills of $2,237. They also fired the employee who cut the dog’s tail, and they offered to cover any additional medical expenses for Noel.
But that wasn’t enough for Tully and her mom. They hired trial lawyers and began to make additional demands of Healthy Spot. To start, they insisted that the groomer pay them $300,000. They also demanded that Healthy Spot donate $10,000 to $20,000 to the Orange County Pomeranian Shelter in Noel’s name.
Riley Tully sent a message to Healthy Spot boasting that she had six million followers and that she would post the story on Instagram if the groomer did not meet her demands. “This has been a nightmare from hell for my family,” Tully said in the IG message. “I have had dozens of people message me some really disturbing stories about their own awful encounters at your locations.”
Healthy Spot’s lawyer said that Tully’s actions “may fall under California laws against extortion.”
“Your client’s demands have nothing to do with the health and wellbeing of Noel,” Healthy Spot’s lawyer said to the Tullys’ attorneys. “Rather, they are a transparent attempt to capitalize on Noel’s injury and shake down my client by threatening to ‘blast’ the company on social media unless Healthy Spot pays hundreds of thousands of dollars.”
Eventually, Riley Tully went ahead and posted the story on her Meme Queen page. And the usual dregs of social media came out to offer Healthy Spot some kind words.
“F***ING DISGUSTING YOU DESERVE TO ROT!!! PIECE OF S*** MOTHERF***ER ILL CUT YOUR F***IN ARM OFF!!!!!” wrote one Meme Queen fan.
“Looks like I’ll be taking a trip to make sure you guys are forever ruined count down the weeks @healthy spot,” said follower jayy_fig.
And mandarin.exe offered this pleasantry: “SUE THEM!!!!! KILL THEM!!! THEY NEED TO BURN!!!!”
Healthy Spot’s owners, who said they have received death threats since Tully posted her video on Instagram, created a video of their own to counter her claims and denounce her “smear campaign.”
‘We are proud of the business we’ve built. Our company has helped thousands of customers improve the health and care of their pets,’ said Healthy Spot’s founders. “We were heartbroken that this happened on our watch – and took full responsibility for the incident as soon as it happened.”
“They asked for $300,000. It was clear that they were seeking to weaponize the platform of the pet owner’s daughter – who is a social media influencer with millions of followers.”
Riley Tully denies any attempt to extort Healthy Spot, and says that she made her Instagram video simply “to bring awareness to the situation.” She added that she was “only interested in standing up for the animals.”