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Billings family's dogs safe after TikTok Kool-Aid challenge vandals damage fence

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Posted at 11:06 PM, Feb 20, 2024

BILLINGS - A Billings family nearly lost two of its dogs when a fence was damaged, and believes it all happened because of a popular TikTok trend from a few years ago called the Kool-Aid Man Challenge.

A group ran through the fence on the Emmanuel Baptist Church property on Saturday night.

Several panels were damaged including one in the backyard where three dogs roamed.

The family was out of town but fortunately, the neighbors and some people at the church kept the dogs safe.

The Griffith's dogs, Agnew and Cedar, enjoyed some time at home after leaving the yard when some vandals damaged the panel in the fence.

"We were in Utah for a family funeral and got a call from the people watching our house that two of our dogs were missing," said Beth Griffith. "It's such a helpless feeling being nine, 10 hours away from home."

“The dogs tried to come into the church Sunday morning, about a quarter til eight,” said Mark Wierenga, Emmanuel Baptist facility manager. “We had two of them over there trying to get in. They were good. They were very happy excited dogs, so I got a hold of them and got them back over through the fence for the owners."

But Agnew and Ceder wandered again, leaving the third dog, Rio, at home.

Neighbors called the Yellowstone Valley animal shelter where the Griffiths picked up their dogs on Monday.

Beth Griffith believes this may be what is called the Kool-Aid Man Challenge, which involves kids trying to imitate the character from a Kool-Aid ad by crashing through a fence.

"We found out really quickly from my niece that this is a challenge,” Griffith said. “This is a TikTok craze. The kids are just running through fences and having a good time with it. But I don't think they realize the next step and that is that you put two lives in danger."

Griffith reported the damage to the Yellowstone County Sheriff's Office.

According to the Billings Police Department, this challenge of knocking down fence panels has existed for several years.

It is also something that young people nationwide have done.

Emmanuel Baptist surveillance video shows that the vandals knocked down the panels around 9:00 Saturday night and then came back around 11:45 p.m.

"It is home to me and I know every inch of the property," Wierenga said.

There will be a cost for the repairs and the Griffiths want to add security cameras.

"I feel very violated,” Griffith said. “My kids play five feet from here and now I'm worried about my dogs being alone. I'm worried about leaving home for any amount of time."

She wants others to know about the Kool-Aid Man Challenge and she plans on organizing a Neighborhood Watch.