Two Indicted for Online Distribution of Puppy-Snuff Videos
A Houston man and woman are being indicted for allegedly distributing snuff films online in which puppies and other animals were tortured and killed, federal officials said.
Federal authorities say the pair made eight videos — bearing titles like puppy 1, whitechick andcrushblackluvsample — that depicted puppies, chickens, kittens and other animals being tortured and killed.
The indictment (.pdf) on Wednesday of Brent Justice, 51, and Ashely Richards, 22, comes three months after they faced similar state allegations in Texas for producing and distributing the graphic movies, referred to as “crush” videos. The two remain in a Houston jail on the state charges and are set to appear in a Texas federal court next month to answer to the new charges.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said it forwarded to the authorities footage that allegedly showed Richards “cutting the leg and slashing the neck and throat of a puppy before beheading the struggling animal with a meat cleaver.”
Under federal law, a crush video is one in which any living non-human mammal, bird, reptile, or amphibian is “intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury.”
The two face seven federal charges, each of which carries a maximum five-year prison term.
The two were being charged in a local Houston court until the federal indictment was unsealed Wednesday, the authorities said.
In August, a Harris County magistrate suspended reading of the allegations “because they were too gruesome.” The state court case accused them of using high-heeled shoes, knives, meat cleavers, pliers and screwdrivers to torture and kill animals, which included mice, lobsters and other animals.
The federal indictment alleges they produced the films “with the objective of earning a profit.”