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Houston pair faces federal charges for animal crush videos

Animal crush is a crime under US federal law. It is generally defined as making a video or taking a photograph that depicts a person intentionally torturing or killing an animal, including mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds. The law then outlines several different forms of torture that may be inflicted. The depiction must also be obscene, meaning that the average person would be offended by the conduct.

A man and woman from Houston are facing federal criminal charges for allegedly making and distributing animal crush videos. The seven-count indictment against them claimed that the man and woman made eight videos that showed the torture and killing of kittens, puppies and chickens.

Prosecutors claim that the two tortured the animals with meat cleavers and other knives. The videos were then posted online. According to prosecutors, the woman allegedly received email requests for videos from clients who wanted the videos for sexual gratification and would pay her if she made them. The videos were allegedly made between February 2010 and August 2012.

The man and woman were arrested on August 15. They have remained in the Harris County Jail at the order of a judge. They were originally charged with the crime of animal cruelty before the start of the federal investigation.

Both the woman and man have been indicted for five counts of animal crush and two counts of obscenity. A conviction for the animal crush charges could result in a penalty of up to seven years in prison for each charge. The obscenity charges also carry serious penalties of up to five years in prison for each charge.

Source: Houston Chronicle, "Federal charges filed in 'animal crush' video case," Erica Quiroz, Nov. 28, 2012

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