Animal Crush Videos = Freedom of Speech

I have to warn you, this made me gasp out loud in DISBELIEF.

In Texas this week, US District Judge Sim Lake threw out charges against the Houston monster couple below, Ashley Richards and Brent Justice. They were arrested (in part due to great work by a local activist) and accused of violating the federal “animal crush video” law by filming and distributing sex fetish videos depicting the torture of puppies, kittens, rabbits and other animals. In one of the videos, Richards tortured a pit bull puppy. She duct-taped its mouth, cut its back leg with a meat cleaver, slit its throat and finally cut off its head. She also stomped on a kitten and ground her shoe heel into its eye socket.Ashley Nicole Richards and Brent Justice allegedly created and distributed violent sex fetish videos — animal snuff films - that depicted the torture of puppies, kittens, rabbits, and other animals.

The 2010 statute outlaws “any photograph, motion picture, film, video or digital recording, or electronic image that: (1) depicts actual conduct in which one or more living non-human mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians is intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled, or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury; and (2) is obscene.”

This case was the first prosecution under that statute. But Judge Lake said that the law is unconstitutional and “abridges the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment.” (PETA spokesperson Stephanie Bell said “The new crush law was drafted specifically to protect animals from this type of heinous cruelty without violating free speech rights.”)

Lake’s ruling is being appealed.