In 2014, the FBI added animal cruelty to its National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), effectively making it a felony to abuse pets and livestock. Santa Barbara had its own experience with devastating animal cruelty when Davey, a 5-month-old miniature pinscher, had to be euthanized after being viciously tortured by his human owner. It was a shocking case of sadism, yet the perpetrator only served six months in jail. From the unspeakable tragedy, however, came the nonprofit Davey’s Voice (daveysvoice.org). Formed in 2015 by Gretchen Lieff, the group was founded to “educate the community so another animal does not have to suffer as Davey did,” among other things, according to its website.
One way the organization is doing that is by hosting the Animal Film Festival On Tour, started four years ago by Grass Valley’s Center for Animal Protection & Education (CAPE). The cinematic lineup includes films that “explore aspects of animal welfare, animal rights, the human-animal bond, and programs demonstrating ways to improve the lives of animals,” said Lieff. Attendees will see David and Goliath, about a Jew who befriends a German shepherd while hiding from the Nazis; You’ve Got a Friend in Me, the story of a young man and his friend, a turkey; The Ethics of Diet, a one-minute animated film about the effects of food choices; a spay and neuter PSA, showing a 1950s housewife who realizes the importance of spaying and neutering; Finding Shelter, which follows a British family that moves to a small town in Bulgaria and ends up opening a dog shelter; and the Davey’s Voice film, showing the 2014 march to the Courthouse in memory of Davey.
In addition to the viewing selections, there will be a Q&A with David and Goliath director George Zaverdas, a recognition ceremony for individuals involved in bringing about justice in animal abuse cases and animal welfare legislation, and vegan cuisine and wine.
The festival takes place Thursday, September 1, 5-8 p.m., at the New Vic (33 W. Victoria St.). All proceeds will benefit CAPE and Davey’s Voice. Tickets are $30-$50; see daveysvoice.org or animalfilmfestival.org.