LA CROSSE, WIS — A fringe movement of conspiracy theorists claiming that local news anchor Dustin Luecke is actually just seven to ten golden retriever puppies are growing their ranks in the Coulee Region.
Members of the group “Pupstin Lickme” believe in the baseless theory that the news anchor and community theater actor is not a real person, but in fact a conspiracy to commit a hostile, but adorable, takeover of the local media landscape.
“It makes a lot of sense if you just do your research!” Pupstin Lickme member Rufus Sandwick said, “I mean every day they somehow get him to sit at the desk and stay throughout the entire newscast… and just look at him! You try and convince me that’s not seven puppies wearing a suit, go ahead! I’ll wait.”
The theory really took off after video out of context was widely shared on social media of Luecke appearing to “wag his tails”, but it was later discovered to be footage of a dance number from the community theater production of The Little Mermaid. Facebook and Twitter have since added a fact-check warning to the post, but it continues to be spread on alternate social media (such as Parler).
“More like Doggo Luecke!!” one commenter suggested. “This is just the lame stream media trying to woo us into their lies with a pile of puppies delivering the news! #Who’sTheGoodBoy?”
Pupstin Lickme believers use the hashtag #Who’sTheGoodBoy to share their message among a now growing online presence. That presence has grown so much in the prior weeks, there is now a small chance one of the Pupstin Lickme believers could even become mayor in the spring election.
“I’m gathering signatures for a run right now,” Sandwick said, “We need people who know THE TRUTH in city hall!”
Members of La Crosse’s common council were quick to denounce the conspiracy theory, including council president Martin Gaul.
“Dustin Luecke is very obviously not seven golden retriever puppies in a suit. That’s ridiculous,” Gaul said, “He’s clearly ten calico cats. Anyone with sense could see that.”
Reporters Sam Shilts and Steven Edward contributed to this article.