Animal cruelty leads to crimes against humans (Rep. Elton Gallegly)



Bob Stevens is appealing his conviction by arguing that his videos are protected by the First Amendment. But his videos promote criminal acts and, as such, are not protected by the Constitution.

For example, his video “Pick a Winna” invites viewers to “see how you are at picking the winner,” as Stevens acts as sportscaster for match after bloody dogfighting match. His video “Japan Pit Fights” similarly depicts a series of graphic dogfights from beginning to end. They are gruesome pro-dogfighting videos geared specifically to dogfighters.

Animal cruelty has no place in a civilized society. Numerous studies have shown that people who abuse animals often escalate to violence against people. Jeffrey Dahmer, Albert “Boston Strangler” DeSalvo, Ted Bundy, David “Son of Sam” Berkowitz and Ted “Unabomber” Kaczynski all had a history of torturing animals.

In addition, other crimes often go hand-in-hand with animal fighting, including illegal gambling, drug trafficking and acts of human violence. Virtually every arrest for animal cruelty has also led to additional arrests for at least one of these criminal activities. Moreover, gratuitous cruelty toward animals dehumanizes all of us and is simply wrong.

This is not a First Amendment issue; this is a law enforcement issue. The FBI, U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Justice consider animal cruelty to be one of the early warning signs of potential violence by youths.

That is why 26 state attorneys general have asked the high court to uphold the law. None have opposed it.