From People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
Brent Justice and Ashley Richards have been indicted by a federal grand jury for creating and distributing animal crush videos. They have been transferred into federal custody, where they will remain until they stand trial. Justice and Richards each face up to 45 years in federal prison and up to $1.75 million in fines. This is the first federal indictment of a crush video case in the United States.
Originally posted on August 21:
After PETA was alerted to violent fetish videos sold online showing puppies, kittens, rabbits, mice, and other animals who were tortured in ways that would make even a hardened person sick, our Cruelty Investigations Department staffers worked around the clock to find the perpetrators. Thanks to skillful sleuthing and with the help of the Animal Beta Project, PETA determined that the alleged producers of the videos lived in Houston, Texas, and rushed the evidence to local authorities. Two days later, the Houston Police Department (HPD) arrested Brent Justice and Ashley Richards, two suspects believed to be involved in an international video sales scheme, on felony warrants and charged them with animal torture.
PETA applauds the HPD and the Harris County District Attorney's Office for their swift action. We will be pushing for federal charges as well, as making crush videos is a violation of federal law. Such videos feature animals, including mice, puppies, kittens, and rabbits, slowly tortured to death for the sexual gratification of fetishists.
Charges for both suspects result from a video that PETA gave to the HPD, in which a woman prosecutors say is Richards is shown cutting the leg and slashing the neck and throat of a puppy before beheading the struggling animal with a meat cleaver. Richards also faces charges related to the torture and killing of a cat in a 2010 video. As the Houston Chronicle reports, a "judge halted the reading of the court documents during a hearing last week because the details were too graphic." Richards has reportedly admitted to killing hundreds of animals over the years. The investigation is continuing.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
As this case shows, for animals in danger, one phone call or e-mail can the make the difference between life and (perhaps a horrible) death. Please, if you witness or hear about cruelty to animals, never be silent.