Video shows teens setting fire to opossums
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Video shows teens setting fire to opossums Submitted by Aiyanna Looney - 28 Jun 2005

Aiyanna Looney wrote:

This is one of those things that I know all of us (those that I am sending this email to) can agree on: animal torture is wrong.

I'm asking everybody to write a letter about the following news story.

Send a letter to anyone who can do something about this!

[Ed.] Every State and every Country should have criminal anti-cruelty laws that cover companion animals, wild animals, and farmed animals.]

Published: 06/23/2005 10:45 AM
By: Associated Press - Associated Press

FORT DODGE, IA - A videotape sent to a humor Web site that shows area teenagers dousing live opossums with lighter fluid and setting them on fire is creating no laughs.

Josh Colvin, cruelty intervention coordinator for the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, called the videotape "the worst animal torture I've ever seen."

The teens, whose names and hometowns were not released, created the video and sent it to the popular entertainment Web site eBaumsworld.com, which features a variety of humorous video clips, stories and games.

"They're actually setting an animal on fire. You don't think somebody would consider that a joke or fun," Colvin said Wednesday.

Concerned Web site administrators who viewed the video Monday referred the video, e-mail correspondence and internet service provider information to a senior caseworker from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, who contacted the Animal Rescue League of Iowa.

Colvin contacted Fort Dodge police and gave them a copy of the video.

Colvin, who saw the videotape Saturday, described two young men pouring lighter fluid on the live opossums and setting them on fire.

"It shows the possums walking around, clearly just engulfed with flames," Colvin said. "They do this to two possums while laughing hysterically in the background."

Neil Bauman, executive vice president of Rochester, New York-based eBaumsworld.com, viewed the video and called the video "disturbing."

"We don't mind a little edgy humor, but this was too over the edge for eBaumsworld," Bauman said.

The 13 staff members at the Web site sift through an estimated 6,000 to 8,000 e-mails a day, many of them with video content, Bauman said.

While a number of the videos are over the top and deleted en masse, this was the first referred to authorities.

"If they traced it back to the right guys, good," Bauman said.

The Webster County sheriff's department and Fort Dodge police are investigating.

Officials declined to comment or identify those allegedly involved in the video until charges are filed.

"I'm all for prosecuting people who would do something that cruel," said Tina Petralie, the director of the North Central Iowa Humane Society.

"Something like this shows a disturbing lack of that respect," she said.

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