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What’s the True Impact of Animal Cruelty on TikTok? Florida Man Faced Faces Serious Charges for Deer Abuse

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A Florida man, Clay Neil Kinney, 27, is facing charges of animal cruelty after he allegedly intentionally ran over a deer for a TikTok video, leading to his arrest on December 28. The arrest report from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office states that Kinney was under investigation for “running over deer and posting the video on TikTok.” He now faces one felony charge and five misdemeanor counts.

The incident came to light after a TikTok video capturing the alleged animal abuse surfaced, prompting law enforcement to take action. Kinney was subsequently pulled over by a detective who discovered that his license had been suspended, leading to his arrest. According to reports, Kinney later admitted to intentionally running over the deer. A video reviewed by the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office reportedly showed Kinney attempting to run over five deer, succeeding in hitting one.

Kinney is scheduled to appear in court on January 30 to face charges of animal cruelty and driving with a suspended license. This is not Kinney’s first encounter with legal issues related to wildlife. In May 2021, he was found guilty of illegally hunting on protected land, receiving six years of probation. Two months later, he faced charges of illegal taking of a deer, resulting in a $758 fine.

TikTok, the popular video-sharing platform, has faced criticism in the past for allegedly allowing content featuring animal cruelty to be uploaded and circulated on the platform. Various animal protection organizations, including the Social Media Animal Cruelty Coalition, have raised concerns about the prevalence of such content. In response to these concerns, TikTok maintains community guidelines that explicitly prohibit content that “promotes, glorifies, or normalizes violence against animals or the suffering of animals.”

Despite these guidelines, instances of animal cruelty on the platform have persisted. In August, a TikTok trend involving spinning cats in the air to a Taylor Swift song went viral, drawing criticism from animal welfare groups. Cats Protection, an animal charity, expressed concern that the trend likely caused distress to the involved pets, emphasizing its unethical and potentially criminal nature.

Responding to inquiries, TikTok highlighted its proactive content removal measures, stating that between July and September 2023, 97.5% of videos violating the platform’s terms were removed. The platform reiterated its commitment to enforcing guidelines that safeguard against the promotion of violence or harm to animals.

As the case against Clay Neil Kinney unfolds, it sheds light on the ongoing challenges faced by social media platforms in curbing content that exploits or inflicts harm on animals. The incident underscores the need for continued vigilance and enforcement of stringent guidelines to ensure the responsible use of these platforms while safeguarding animal welfare.

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