I’ve yet to meet a single human being who didn’t have a soft spot for at least one species of non-human animal. I’ve seen ruthless employers rave about a certain racehorse, an callous former flame go to pieces over a triple-shot of roadkill, and I myself have been known to giggle and flail about when in the presence of a particularly charming and precocious kitten. So, imagine my shock when the following appeared in my news feed a few weeks back: (Miami Herald, April 4, 2014) It seems someone has been hiring sex workers to film themselves mutilating and slaughtering fish, rabbits and chickens in a most gory fashion, stomping and crushing them until they’re left a bloody, broken lifeless mess. The accused performers, Stephanie Hird (aka Megan Jones) and Sara Zamora (aka Gloria Shynez), were arrested weeks apart but investigators with Miami-Dade PD say it appears they were both hired by the same man. Adam Redford, a fishing boat captain, is the alleged producer behind “crush video” website SOS Barn, which according to police reports promotes “torturing and killing a wide variety of animals, including chickens, rabbits and more for the sexual gratification of its viewers.” Redford, listed as Zamora’s co-defendant hosted the film shoot at his house in South Miami-Dade, recently finished a slate of probation for (you guess it) animal cruelty charges. Hird’s alleged offenses (according to her arrest warrant) include shooting two restrained rabbits at point-blank range and allowing them to squirm and struggle before death, repeatedly shooting an “obviously in pain” rat, and setting a mound of wounded rats on fire, and the crushing of live fish with her hands and feet. According to the Miami Herald, Zamora’s performances for SOS Barn went even further. “In one clip of “SOS Barn,” Miami-Dade police say, Zamora gropes a man’s genitals with her left hand while “repeatedly cutting a chicken’s neck using hedge clippers with her right.” In others, she posed “in a sexy outfit” after hacking off the head of another screaming bird, or she beat chickens to death with a wooden stick. Chickens weren’t the only victims. She also karate-chopped the necks of several rabbits as they howled in pain, according to the report, then admitted to killing them.”
Stephanie Hird was released on a $7,500 bond and remains under house arrest. Sara Zamora remains in jail – she was arrested inside, already there for a string of theft, drug, and fraud charges – and faces up to five years for each of the eight counts of animal cruelty she’s being charged with. Hird, who claims her charges fall outside the statue of limitations, is charged with five counts of animal cruelty. Trial dates have yet to be set.