CHICAGO — A man who posted "dog torture" videos on YouTube was found not guilty of animal torture and a slew of other felony charges in a case that drew national attention last year for his "dog tornado."
Joshua Moore, 23, posted a handful of videos to YouTube in 2011 featuring himself and a younger boy throwing the animals into the air, applying duct tape to their genitals, and then ripping it off and spinning them around like a propeller by a harness in what he dubbed the "dog tornado."
While upsetting, a Cook County judge ruled Wednesday that Moore's acts depicted in the video did not constitute animal torture, finding him guilty only of four counts of misdemeanor depiction of animal cruelty and sentenced him two years probation, mandatory counseling and barred him from having any contact with animals.
"About my actions, it was wrong," Moore said in a statement before sentencing. "Just know that it won't happen again."
Prosecutors argued that Moore's behavior couldn't be anything else besides cruelty.
"You know it when you see it," said Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Samara Cotter, comparing the question about what defines animal cruelty and torture to the way child pornography is defined. "To sit here and say that the defendant's behavior was anything but cruel is preposterous."
Moore, who grew up a ward of the state, managed to avoid trouble, according to his attorney.
"It's a classic case ... he's been to six different high schools, foster home to foster home, group home to group home," said Bruce Mosbacher, a former public defender who agreed to take Moore's case pro bono at the request of the Cabrini Green Legal Aid group. "He's really an amazing kid, given where he's come from."
Mosbacher blamed a poorly written Illinois statute on animal cruelty.
"The legislature completely messed this up," he said, adding that the statute fails to define animal torture. "We had a national debate in this country about whether water boarding is torture or not."
A trio of animal right advocates who attended the day-long trial said they thought Moore, who spend more than four months in the county jail prior to the trial, received a fair sentence.
"I am OK with it," said Pat Kerber, noting that the attention the case received is evidence of shifting sentiment regarding the seriousness of animal crimes.
As for the animals involved; police seized five dogs and five puppies from a house in South Austin where the video-tapping allegedly occurred.
All of them were adopted, officials said.
The juvenile, who was never identified by authorities, was sentenced to two years in June, according to the Cook County State's Attorney's office.