Supreme Court to hear case on dog-fighting and freedom of speech
But if it depicts animal abuse -- such as dog fighting? That's a matter for the highest court in the land. The Times' David G. Savage explains:
The law included exceptions for depictions with serious religious, scientific or artistic value.Last year, however, a federal appeals court in Philadelphia declared the rarely used law unconstitutional on 1st Amendment grounds. The judges said the protection for free speech includes depictions of even illegal activity.
The ruling overturned the conviction of Robert J. Stevens, who was then serving a three-year sentence for selling videos of pit bulls attacking each other and other animals. Government lawyers appealed to the Supreme Court, writing that "depictions of torture and maiming of animals ... have little or no expressive content or redeeming societal value, and Congress has compelling reasons for prohibiting them."
Today, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, which is expected to be argued this fall.
-- Lindsay Barnett
Photo: Dog trainer Ann Alums works with Meryl, a pit bull rescued from Michael Vick's kennel. Credit: Molly Wald / Best Friends Animal Society.