NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP)  –– Was it all a finger-lickin’ fraud?

Backyard chickens may be ruffling feathers in parts of New York City, but that’s nothing compared to the national outcry that was raised after an alleged incident at a Jackson, Miss., KFC restaurant.

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The franchised KFC in question has hired an investigator to look into claims an employee asked a 3-year-old girl to leave because injuries she suffered in a pit bull mauling disturbed customers.

A source reportedly told local newspaper the Laurel Leader-Call that the incident never happened, and that simple fact-checking would prove it.

KFC spokesman Rick Maynard said the company is concerned that the Jackson restaurant’s internal investigation couldn’t verify the incident. An outside investigator will conduct an independent investigation.

KFC’s commitment of $30,000 to help with the child’s medical bills won’t be affected by the investigation’s outcome, Maynard said.

Allegations that Victoria Wilcher was asked to leave the restaurant were made earlier this month on the Facebook site “Victoria’s Victories,” which follows the girl’s recovery. A post on June 12 said, “Does this face look scary to you?
Last week at KFC in Jackson MS this precious face was asked to leave because her face scared the other diners. I personally will never step foot in another KFC again and will be personally writing the CEO.”

After that post, local media outlets covered her alleged plight and the story went viral.

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$135,000 was raised on the GoFundMe website for Victoria. Before the national media coverage, only $595 had been raised.

A posting Tuesday on the Victoria’s Victories Facebook page denied that the claim is a hoax. It said in part, “I promise its not a hoax, I never thought any of this would blow up the way it has. The article circling the web calling this a hoax is untrue. The article itself say [sic] the investigation is not complete. It is not over until KFC releases a statement.”

Dick West, who owns the local Jackson KFC franchises, didn’t comment but did take to Facebook to discuss the incident on Saturday.

“When the allegation was first made, KFC pledged $30,000 to go to medical expenses and started an investigation to find the truth,” West said. “They have pledged the money even if it is proven that the incident never happened. At this point their story is full of holes. Any thinking person who follows their timeline can see it. The event at KFC never happened.”

According to published reports, employees and managers of the Jackson KFC in question have been harassed and received death threats.

Victoria was mauled by three pit bulls while visiting her grandfather in April. The dogs were destroyed.

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