MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - Users of SOS Barn.com liked to download sadistic pornographic videos of provocatively dressed women engaging in sexual acts -- while burning, cutting and killing animals.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' activists have been helping law enforcement to put a stop to the dark world for years. And SOSBarn.com, which focused on a sub-genre known as "Crush" erotica, was their target.
Two women -- Stephanie Hird, 29, and Sara Santa Zamora, 28 -- involved in the SOSBarn.com videos are facing animal cruelty charges. The two appeared in Miami-Dade County court Friday and were set to return Monday.
Prosecutors and police said the women were in videos mutilating and killing animals. Some of the "crush" fetish porn on the website involved fish, mice, rats, rabbits, chickens, pellet guns, staplers, horrific noises and blood.
IN COURT FRIDAY
Zamora, who is serving time for unrelated criminal cases in Miami-Dade, was wearing an orange jumpsuit and a new reddish hair color to match it. She plead not guilty to eight felony counts of animal cruelty. Her defense attorney was Daniela Torrealba.
Hird, who has a record of marijuana possession, wore black and used a red folder to cover her face. She faced five felony counts of animal cruelty. Her defense attorney was Roy Ugarte.
Santa Zamora was no saint. Before the Miami Herald's David Ovalle reported her April 4th arrest for animal cruelty, she was serving time for grand-theft and credit card fraud charges. Records show whe was charged with drug possession for four consecutive years, and was arrested in 2008 for disorderly conduct and battery.
The two were set to appear in front of Judge Teresa Mary Pooler Monday.
Miami-Dade police is still looking for Adam Redford, 57, who produced SOSBarn.com. At Redford's home in rural Estero, a Naples News reporter heard dogs barking, and saw Redford leave the house with a suitcase.
On March 27, 2013, LeeCounty Sheriff's Office arrested him for animal cruelty. He was on probation when Miami-Dade Police Department's agricultural unit began to investigate him for videos in a home he used to own in Homestead.
He wasn't facing any charges in Miami-Dade Friday.
FREEDOM VS. CRUELTY
Miami-Dade County and Florida have laws that can lead to fines and prison time. Psychological counseling and anger management treatment are considered.
The law wasn't always clear on the "crush" videos cases -- some of the controversy in legal communities has even gone into the different effects of pain on vertebrates and invertebrates.
The issue turned into a court battle between animal rights groups and First Amendment free-speech advocates in 2009 when Robert J. Steven used the First Amendment to defend his dog fighting "Pick-a-Winna" videos.
The U.S. Supreme Court struck a 1999 federal law designed to stop the sale and marketing of videos showing acts of animal cruelty. The opinion sided with the "Pick-a-Winna" videos saying the law was unconstitutional.
"The animals used in crush videos are living creatures that experience excruciating pain. Our society has long banned such cruelty," he said. The courts, he said, have "erred in second-guessing the legislative judgment about the importance of preventing cruelty to animals."
President Barack Obama signed The Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act of 2010, which made penalties of up to seven years in prison possible.
The bipartisan law found a balance and criminalized the "intentional acts of extreme animal cruelty, such as the intentional crushing, burning, drowning, suffocating, or impaling of animals for no socially redeeming purpose."
PSYCHOLOGY OF CRUELTY
Detectives say they have often found sickening videos in the computers of killers and serial rapists. Criminological studies have shown that those who enjoy animal cruelty are more likely to engage in violent acts.
The tendency to want to inflict pain on animals or enjoy watching some one else inflict pain on an animal has been linked to psychological disorders such as antisocial personality disorder.
And while there are many theoretical perspectives on the reasons for the appeal for the disturbing, including a history of abuse or brain and endocrine abnormalities, there is nothing certain to explain why there is a demand for this type of pornography.
Copyright 2014 by Local10.com. CNN NewSource contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.