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A husband and wife from the US are accused of torturing dogs following an international investigation into a disgraced crocodile expert who raped and mutilated pets on camera in Australia.

Lucas Russell VanWoert, 25, and his wife Heather Marie VanWoert, 32, were arrested following a raid of their Ohio home in September 2022 and hit with a range of charges relating to animal cruelty.

Their arrests came after a joint investigation by US and Australian authorities to identify those responsible for creating a disturbing video called ‘1Bitch9Pups’, which circulated on Telegram and abuse websites six months earlier, in March 2022.

The film was made by British-Australian zoologist and academic, Adam Britton, who was arrested in Darwin a month later and charged with almost 60 offences relating to bestiality, animal cruelty, and the possession of child exploitation material.

He recently pleaded guilty to all charges in Darwin’s Supreme Court on September 25 and is awaiting sentence.

The VanWoert’s weren’t involved in the production of Britton’s video, according to documents filed in the US District Court, but Britton and Mr VanWoert exchanged 705 photos and videos of animal abuse with one another from about November 2020.

Lucas and Heather VanWoert (pictured) were arrested following a raid of their Ohio home in September last year

Adam Britton (pictured) confessed to animal abuse, bestiality, and for the possession of child exploitation material

The shared files included footage of Mr VanWoert raping and torturing at least four dogs in the sleeper cabin of a tractor trailer, which he then shared with Britton on Telegram under the pseudonym ‘Graves’.

Detectives tracked the filming location to a truck stop in Michigan, which eventually led them to Mr VanWoert.

Part of the reason authorities were able to identify him was because his face and a distinctive sun-shaped tattoo on his arm were visible in some of the footage.  

He was not arrested during the raid at his property, but voluntarily confessed to engaging in sex acts, beating, and strangling a dog at his former workplace in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and placing its body in a dumpster. 

He was charged with creating ‘crushing’ videos, which relates to animals being stomped on or impaled to satisfy a sexual fetish, and distributing obscene material.

Along with images and footage of animal abuse, detectives also found child exploitation videos on his electronic devices.

Heather VanWoert (pictured with her husband) was arrested and hit with 12 charges relating to animal cruelty

Heather VanWoert (mugshot pictured) was charged after her husband, Lucas VanWoert, confessed to charges relating to bestiality and animal cruelty

Mr VanWoert was not released on bail and faces 12 years behind bars.

In November 2022, his wife Mrs VanWoert was arrested and hit with 12 charges relating to animal torture.

On Sunday, Daily Mail Australia revealed that Jaden Young Korse, age 24 from Kentucky, edited Britton’s depraved videos before they went online.

As with Mr VanWoert, Britton met Korse in an online community dedicated to people who get sexual gratification from animal abuse, known as zoosadists.

They developed a friendship on Telegram, Britton’s pseudonym was ‘Monster’ and Korse called himself ‘Gorvaged’, and bonded over their shared obsession with animal cruelty.

In a few videos which showed Britton sexually abusing and torturing dogs, he held up signs that read ‘Gorvaged’ in an apparent effort to thank him for editing his work.

Korse and Britton were eventually identified in April 2022 thanks to dedicated internet sleuths who were disgusted by the footage and worked tirelessly to bring those involved to justice.

However, Korse had struggled with addiction from the age of 13 and died from an accidental fentanyl overdose on December 21, 2021. 

Jaden Young Korse (pictured) was from Kentucky in the US, and edited Britton’s videos under the name ‘Gorvaged’

Britton primarily used his Monster pseudonym to speak with like-minded people on Telegram, but Korse helped him create another called Cerberus – which is a three-headed dog in Greek mythology – to release his twisted content ‘anonymously’. 

Britton’s arrest came just a month after he uploaded ‘1Bitchh9pups’ to an abuse website in March 2022.

Sources say he wanted it to be the best known ‘shock video’ on the internet, but all it did was anger internet users who were disgusted with the obscene levels of violence and scoured the video looking for clues.

Eventually, one person noticed an orange City of Darwin leash on one of the dogs and one user in particular managed to identify Britton reported him to the police.

The non-publication order was lifted when Britton pleaded guilty in Darwin’s Supreme Court on Monday.

He pleaded guilty to 37 counts of animal cruelty, 10 counts of raping or attempting to rape a dog, and four counts of possessing or transmitting child abuse material in Darwin’s Supreme Court on Monday.

The non-publication order on his name was then lifted.

Britton will be sentenced in Darwin Supreme Court on December 13.

Britton was a crocodile expert who set up a consultancy company with his wife

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

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