Dogpatch Press

Fluff Pieces Every Week

Tag: investigation

Midwest Furfest 2014 chemical attack: Fur And Loathing podcast Episode 2 at scene of the crime

by Patch O'Furr

May 13, 2024: The second episode of Fur and Loathing is HERE (six episodes are coming out weekly.)

The 2014 chemical attack on Midwest Furfest was one of the largest in American history. 19 people were hospitalized. Nobody was charged and the case went cold. 10 years later, never-before-reported findings are here in this Furry True Crime podcast with journalist Nicky Woolf.

In the new Episode 2, Nicky visits Midwest Furfest and traces events in the 2014 police report, gaining unexpected insight. He gets immersed in furry culture with an insider guide, then introduces a complication that stalled the case. Until now.

Last week’s launch announcement had an exclusive interview for Dogpatch Press with Nicky and Patch O’Furr. A reader requested the transcript below. Come back for surprising developments in upcoming episodes.

TRANSCRIPT: EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW – lightly edited for clarity from the video

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BREAKING: Midwest Furfest 2014 chemical attack – new findings by Fur And Loathing podcast

by Patch O'Furr

May 6, 2024: The first episode of Fur and Loathing is HERE

Think you’ve heard everything about the 2014 chemical attack on Midwest Furfest? Wait until you hear this.

The intentional release of chlorine gas sent 19 people to the hospital. It was one of the largest chemical weapons terrorist attacks in American history.

Who did it? And… why?

The targets deserve to know, because they were lucky to survive. The weapon’s deadly potential was only avoided by fast response. The level of crime fell just behind the 2001 anthrax attacks, but strangely, nobody was ever charged for it. The story faded into underreporting, disrespect towards the community, murky rumors, and hopes that it won’t happen again. There’s pride in resilience — but 10 years later, justice wasn’t served. It’s the biggest cold case in furry fandom.

The case revived when investigation by Dogpatch Press drew journalist Nicky Woolf and Project Brazen to seek FBI records, identify suspects, and fly across America to interview sources. Nicky is a journalist who reports on internet culture, with stories in The Guardian, and his original podcast series Finding Q and The Sound: Mystery of the Havana Syndrome. Nicky and Brazen’s series Fur And Loathing delivers never-before reported findings to empower the community.

EXCLUSIVE: Nicky Woolf’s introduction for Dogpatch Press

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Zoosadist investigation: Matthew “Cupid” Grabowsky harasses investigator, gets immediately slapped with child porn conviction

by Patch O'Furr

Content warning for animal abuse and sexual violence. 

In September 2021, Washington furry fan Matthew “Cupid” Grabowsky was convicted for a new charge of child porn possession. He faces up to 20 years in jail. This revives news of his 2019 animal cruelty conviction, which drew protest about his continued presence in the furry fan community. We’ll look into how Cupid was convicted this time, but first let’s look at how this supports a deeper story about a crime ring he was in.

NEW CORROBORATION: 2019 reporting by Dogpatch Press featured Cupid in the headline, and claimed a deeper story.

The 2019 report here covered a big leak of a furry/zoophile crime ring for animal torture porn (zoosadism) and child abuse. Think movie serial-killer-like behavior. Hundreds of hours of investigation found a “matrix of corroboration”. Legal documents for Cupid’s new conviction add more evidence:

  • There’s new disclosure of serious crime predating August 2018; the same time period in the Dogpatch Press report.
  • Cupid’s 2019 conviction was a misdemeanor that let him off easy, indicating he gained a plea deal that let him come back and minimize his crime.
  • Cupid’s 2021 charge led to immediate conviction with a guilty plea. (That can happen from breaking terms of a deal, explaining why it came out now.)
  • The newly disclosed crime involved multiple child victims, even toddlers forced into sexual contact with animals.
  • Victim ID’s hinted in new court documents don’t match other known victims reported to law enforcement; more may keep coming out.

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The dedicated watchdog: Moxxey reports online animal abuse (Part 3).

by Patch O'Furr

CONTENT WARNING – Part (1) A Killer – (2) A Trend – (3) A Watchdog

The frustration is palpable. Moxxey publishes stories of atrocious behavior to animals, but how can it be stopped when huge websites have channels full of it?

Moxxey runs Rodent Club on Livejournal. Livejournal isn’t active like it was years ago, but citizen reporting can start anywhere, and reaching out from there is a good idea for an activist with a purpose. (I think he should also join the Trusted Flaggers in Part (2). And keep sharing cute pet stories for more notice!)

Moxxey returns comments about Part 1-2:

“This is a good start to helping expose and explain the problem that these social platforms are giving to animal cruelty perpetrators, and what needs to be done to fix this. A bit more needs to be said about small animal cruelty regarding hamsters, guinea pigs, rats, mice, rabbits, baby birds, etc. Too often they’re not protected under cruelty laws or seen as not important because they are small creatures.

The Reptile Channel is just one of these horrific channels creating “live feeding” videos under the guise of education. It’s really cruel entertainment for a profit and a very twisted audience. No matter what you try to do to report it on the AI reporting systems for Youtube, TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, etc., nothing ever gets done to remove the videos.

Even with an AI system, there’s no excuse for not having proper options to signify that when there’s animal cruelty — it’s time to get a human moderator involved! Facebook seems to have one of the worst reporting systems, which never give the proper option boxes to check, nor an explanation of what’s going on. They almost always respond, “Sorry we did not find the selected post to go against our community guidelines”. 🙁

What is needed is more news coverage by video, news pages and TV to let the public know what’s secretly going on with animal cruelty online.”

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The Zoosadism Channel: A look at a trend of animal abuse on social media (Part 2).

by Patch O'Furr

CONTENT WARNING – Part (1) A Killer – (2) A Trend – (3) A Watchdog

Huge platforms are letting it happen. It’s under their noses, according to this June 2021 report. National Geographic: How fake animal rescue videos have become a new frontier for animal abuse.

That’s disturbing at wide scale, because of how social media attention meets psychological escalation. Part (1) looked into the Omegle Cat Killer, where an investigator said: “Animal abusers have total power over that animal and, if someone is willing to be that cruel to an animal, evidence suggests they may target vulnerable humans as well,” said Special Agent in Charge Paul Keenan, FBI Indianapolis.” — Kokomo Tribune

Despite such a warning about the extremes, it seems like the odds are against justice. A standout example among furries was Kero the Wolf, a popular Youtuber exposed in a zoosadist crime ring. The evidence led to arrests, but child abuse was the focus and most members got away with it. Kero’s attempts to gaslight the public about his innocence made him The O.J. Simpson of furries. His presence highlights a gap in the laws.

This part covers the exploitation on social media, and Part (3) will feature someone working to bridge the gap.

A content pool with no lifeguard

In 1940, protest rose up about a horse tumbling over a cliff in a Western movie. It triggered regulation for the industry to stop using animals like disposable props. Now Hollywood movies get American Humane certification by following a 132-page guide. But tech platforms aren’t so regulated.

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The Omegle Cat Killer: A true crime tale of stopping online animal abuse (Part 1)

by Patch O'Furr

CONTENT WARNING for animal abuse – Part (1) A Killer – (2) A Trend – (3) A Watchdog

He had to be stopped. Someone was killing cats and posting the videos online. Internet sleuths were hunting a killer who reveled in taunting them. In December 2019, their story came out on Netflix as Don’t F*ck With Cats. It was one of the year’s most-watched documentaries.

As hard as they tried, identifying the killer wasn’t enough. They felt helpless until he escalated to killing a human victim and mailing the body parts to terror targets. Finally the authorities noticed, and Canadian man Luka Magnotta was caught and convicted. The story suggests that taking animal cruelty seriously could have saved a person, and it showed a trend for attention: “Murderers have become online broadcasters. And their audience is us.

Months after the show, the same trend terrorized the furry fandom and made a new case for the FBI.

More than a copycat

In May 2020, the new Covid-19 situation was turning the world upside down. Stuck in quarantine, furry fans found a way to lift their spirits. They joined a regular event on the Omegle video chat service, using hashtags to meet fellow fans by random connection.

They weren’t expecting to connect to a woman in an animal-skin mask, gripping a bloody skull a little bigger than an egg. It almost looked fake, until she used a finger to pop out an eyeball like a grape.

Whoever was doing this wasn’t just shocking random targets. She knew about the event and targeted them with hashtags like #furries, #fursuit and #furryfandom. It made a trail with sightings of gory animal parts and links to Instagram and Tiktok. It was hard to document live incidents, but alarm spread and reached millions of viewers on Youtube. She got attention she wanted, but where did she come from?

The hype never told the full story. It passed like a blip and Youtubers and blogs quickly forgot. We’ll get to what happened in 2021 — but first, she didn’t just start in 2020 without warning. A path was laid much earlier.

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Q&A with Jenny Edwards, criminologist and expert on zoophilia/zoosadism.

by Patch O'Furr

Content warning for animal abuse and sexual violence. Part 5 of a 5 part update about the Zoosadist chat leaks.

In September 2018, the furry fandom was shocked by news about zoosadists (people into rape, torture and murder of animals for their fetish). Part 1) looks at how their ring was exposed, the threat to events, and who is implicated. Part 2) looks at police involvement and evasion by the ring. Part 3) is about trying to report a safety risk to an event. Part 4) shares a new development. And this part looks at the issues with an expert.

Jenny Edwards (mjennyedwards.com) may be the only person in the U.S. (or the world) who specializes solely in issues related to zoophilia and bestiality. She helps legislators, law enforcement, investigators (both above & below ground), social workers, psychiatrists, and attorneys with understanding, detecting, and prosecuting animal sex abusers.

(Patch:) Hi Jenny, thanks for being generous with your time. Briefly, how would you rate my non-professional/independent investigation on this story, and can you give a “greatest hits” of your background?

(Jenny:) First, let me just say how amazed I am at the work you’ve done on exposing zoosadism within the zoo and furry communities. I know how difficult it is to get solid information in the first place, let alone cross-check it with other sources, so kudos to you for not only doing that but for sharing this important information. Now about my background …

  • Prior to Ken Pinyan’s death in 2005 (the “Enumclaw case”) I was a systems engineer with Xerox, IBM, and Microsoft. 
  • At the time of the Enumclaw case, I was managing a large animal shelter, which is how I became intrigued with zoophilia (sexual interest in animals) and bestiality (acting on that sexual interest). On behalf of Pinyan’s family, we moved his horse to our farm where I began to understand the challenges a sexually abused animal faces, and just how little we knew about animal-attracted people (AAPs) or people who sexually abuse animals (ASOs).
  • Since 2005 I have conducted and published statistical research; written articles for law enforcement, psychology, and veterinary publications; been instrumental in getting laws passed or improved in multiple states; and have developed and delivered training materials for law enforcement, veterinarians, social workers, and prosecutors. 

Zoosadism is a heavy topic, so I wanted to reach someone with authority beyond the fan level of my news site. I tried to reach Dr. Mark Griffiths at Psychology Today, but he was busy being a professor. I tried getting a referral from the GOP office for Elton Gallegly (former Republican U.S. Congressman who helped to outlaw animal crush videos), and they treated this like a conspiracy theory and how dare I ask. It’s hard to know where to start with something so specialized. Do these issues have a hard time getting taken seriously?

Absolutely. The whole topic is met with disgust, disbelief, or derision just about everywhere you turn. Legislators don’t want to tackle “controversial” issues – especially those that have anything to do with “abnormal” sex practices. Law enforcement officers think bestiality is “just” about animals and they’ve got murder and mayhem to worry about. Prosecutors are reluctant to take on cases because they may only prosecute one bestiality case in their entire career, so what’s the point in studying the law to get the best result for the victim? Judges are reluctant to send animal abusers to jail and think they’ll do better with counseling, but mental health practitioners don’t see sexual attraction to animals as a mental health disorder. So all of this perpetuates the reluctance to do in-depth research that would aid in our understanding of the nature and prevalence of the practice.

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A report of sex trafficking, and a chance to make a change and put a leash on crime.

by Patch O'Furr

Content warning for animal abuse and sexual violence. Part 4 of a 5 part update about the Zoosadist chat leaks.

In September 2018, the furry fandom was shocked by news about zoosadists (people into rape, torture and murder of animals for their fetish). Part 1) looks at how their ring was exposed, the threat to events, and who is implicated. A focus on ring member Tane makes a thread through a tangled story. Part 2) looks at police involvement and evasion by the ring. Part 3) is about trying to report a safety risk to an event. This part shares a new development.

In October 2017, the ringleader Snakething has hooked up Tane with someone for sex. It’s part of his practice of providing favors in return for videos, which can be leveraged for more favors. First, Snakething and Tane collaborate to push things where they want to go by sharing secrets about their target.

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Investigation blocked: Safety concerns meet a wall of silence at furry conventions.

by Patch O'Furr

Content warning for animal abuse and sexual violence. Part 3 of a 5 part update about the Zoosadist chat leaks.

In September 2018, the furry fandom was shocked by news about zoosadists (people into rape, torture and murder of animals for their fetish). Part 1) looks at how their ring was exposed, the threat to events, and who is implicated. A focus on ring member Tane makes a thread through a tangled story. Part 2) looks at police involvement and evasion by the ring. This part returns to how staff respond about a threat to events.

Here, Tane explains ways to drug targets for sex at furry conventions. He calls it “pseudoconsent” (coercing someone with technical permission when they lack real control). But when a person is sedated for sex there’s no legal defense for criminal charges, making liability no matter what. And BDSM role-play isn’t the problem. Besides risky, or even deadly activity that BDSM advocates discourage, the ring goes way farther in targeting victims for rape and worse.

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Running scared: an international zoosadism ring evades investigation.

by Patch O'Furr

Content warning for animal abuse and sexual violence. Part 2 of a 5 part update about the Zoosadist chat leaks.

In September 2018, the furry fandom was shocked by news about zoosadists (people into rape, torture and murder of animals for their fetish). Part 1) looks at how their ring was exposed, the threat to events, and who is implicated. A focus on ring member Tane makes a thread through a tangled story. This part looks at their evasion.

One excuse for people caught associated with the ring is downplaying it as “just fantasy”. To deflect public anger, member Kero the Wolf claimed he just likes “feral art” — a handful of pictures in a mountain of animal abuse in their chat leaks. Euphemistic illusions are a way to beg tolerance in a fandom where weird interests have free expression. But furries have limits. So the extreme fringe members hide their tracks with alt accounts, encryption and codes.

It’s the week after Halloween in 2017, and Tane was just at PAWcon, a small event in San Jose, CA. Snakething has frightening news — associates in the UK are being arrested for illegal content. Snakething is reassuring about Telegram’s encryption, but Tane is spooked about the arrest of ring associate Cupid (from Part 1). Cupid was arrested because Snakething leaked an incriminating video of him to a friend. The police took his phone — can they trace content on it to others? Will more dominos fall? The chatting is subdued for weeks after, and Snakething has to owe favors and settle fears. Notice “SC” (Telegram’s Secret Chat that deletes after viewing), and the code “RLC” (real life cub).

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