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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Utah

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Woods Cross Man Charged with Torturing Animals and Distributing Videos Online

SALT LAKE CITY – Samuel J. Webster, 18, of Woods Cross, was charged by a federal grand jury in Salt Lake City with 23 felony counts related to the alleged torture of four guinea pigs obtained from pet supply stores across the Wasatch Front. 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.

The term “animal crush video” as 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 mammals, birds, reptiles, or amphibians is intentionally crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled or otherwise subjected to serious bodily injury, and is obscene.

According to allegations in the Indictment, Webster obtained the four guinea pigs from pet supply stores in Farmington, Salt Lake City, and West Jordan, in October of 2021. Shortly thereafter, it is alleged that Webster posted 23 videos of himself torturing the guinea pigs and posted the videos to multiple YouTube accounts. It is alleged that Webster posted the videos with graphic titles including “Guinea Pig Torture” and “Torture is Fun.” After posting the videos on YouTube, Webster allegedly posted comments to his own videos reinforcing his desires about killing and torturing guinea pigs.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Utah are prosecuting the case. FBI Special Agents are conducting the investigation.

An Indictment is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.

 

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Updated June 8, 2022