SALT LAKE CITY (KTVX) – A Utah man was federally indicted Tuesday on nearly two dozen felony counts for allegedly distributing videos of him harming guinea pigs online.
Samuel Webster, 18, was charged by a federal grand jury in Salt Lake City with 23 felony counts related to the alleged torture of four guinea pigs that he bought from pet stores, a press release states.
Webster was charged with 18 felony counts of distributing “animal crush videos” on YouTube, one felony count of creating an animal crush video, and four felony counts of animal crushing.
Webster allegedly bought four guinea pigs from pet supply stores in Farmington, Salt Lake City and West Jordan in October 2021.
Shortly after making the purchase, he is accused of posting 23 videos of himself torturing the guinea pigs to multiple YouTube accounts. Webster also allegedly used graphic titles including “Guinea Pig Torture” and “Torture is Fun.”
After posting the videos, the indictment says that Webster posted comments on his own videos “reinforcing his desires about killing and torturing guinea pigs,” a press release states.
An “animal crush video” defined under federal law, makes it illegal to depict via photograph, motion-picture film, video, digital recording, or electronic image, actual conduct in which one or more living non-human mammal, birds, reptiles, or amphibians is intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled or subjected to serious bodily injury, and is obscene.
Webster is currently facing charges in state court for the same offenses.