Bestiality is an insidious crime that involvves a range of behavior. Investigations are often complex, involving multiple jurisdictions as well as mutltiple crimes. Animals are sexually abused by their owners and sometimes while shared with another person. Child pornography is frequently found - often involving a child or vulnerable partner who is coerced or manipulated into performing sex acts while being filmed by the offender. Offenders often trespass on other properties to gain access to animal victims, and animals in this situation are often injured.
There has been a steady rise in the number of incidents being reported, but this is more a reflection on the passage of new and improved laws rather than an increase in the behavior. Bestiality happens far more often than most people realize, and as our understanding of the behavior grows, so does our desire to inhibit it.
Eight cases in January 2020 demonstrate how bestiality-related cases vary widely.
Idaho has prohibited bestiality as a felony sexual offense since 2011. Prior to passage of the law, reports of bestiality were rare. A case involving a Mountain Home father and son caused lawmakers to take bestiality more seriously. In that case, Michael Ebenhoeh was arrested after downloading child pornography during 2010 and 2011. During the search of Ebenhoeh’s home, it was discovered that Michael’s son Joseph had also been downloading hundreds of explicit sexual images involving children and animals. When Joseph was arrested, he admitted to also having sexually abused a 5-year-old boy more than 30 times, beginning in the Spring of 2011.
In January this year, Nathanial Allen Pickering, 42 was arrested in January after sharing links to child and animal pornography on swinger sights used to arrange hookups with other couples.
South Dakota deemed bestiality a felony sex crime in 2012. What started as a drug investigation led to evidence of bestiality and prison time for Joshua Knox, 38. On January 29 Knox was sentenced to 2 years for having sex with his dog multiple times in 2017 and 2018. Because bestiality is a sex crime in South Dakota, Knox will have to register as a sex offender.
Louisiana lawmakers made bestiality a felony criminal offense in 2018. Under Louisiana law, offenders can be sentenced to five years imprisonment and/or fined $2,000. Offenses include not only having sex with an animal, but having or making pornographic images involving an animal, forcing or aiding another person to commit an act of bestiality, or obtaining or providing an animal for sexual purposes.
Prior to passage of the law only 12 or thirteen cases involving bestiality had ever been prosecuted. In most cases, the offender was charged with animal cruelty or for other crimes committed at the same time (e.g. indecent behavior, trespass, or possession of obscene material). Since passage of the law, 24 offenders have been arrested on bestiality-related charges - four of them f this just this month.
- Koshaun Dipon Baker, 23 was arrested after being caught on surveillance camera after breaking into a stable and sexually abusing two horses, including a police mount.
- James Millet, 79 was shot by a Sheriff’s Deputy after refusing to surrender to police during a search warrant of his home. Millet was charged with 36 counts of bestiality and 7 counts for possession of child pornography.
- During an investigation for child pornography possession and distribution, Mark Fabian, 22 was arrested on five counts of bestiality.
- Madyson Alexys Daenen, 34 is no stranger to law enforcement, having previously been arrested in both Louisiana and Texas. Most recently, she was booked in the Livingston Parish Detention Center and charged with 134 counts of possession of child pornography, and 8 counts of bestiality. Her bond is $13.4 million dollars.
Texas lawmakers also made bestiality a felony criminal offense in 2018. In a March, 2018 interview, State Representative Carol Alvarado said, “People think this is a segregated crime … [but] the evidence is there that this is the gateway into some other serious crimes. Numerous animal sex offenders have been arrested since that interview, and in January, 2021, officers found a video of child engaged in bestiality while investigating San Antonio police officer Erik Rodriguez for selling information on a domestic violence case to the offender. In Beaumont, 18-year-old Jacob Daniel Bastian has been indicted after it was discovered he had been trading numerous child and animal porn images using a cloud storage account. At least one video depicted a child less than 6 having sex with a dog.
Kentucky outlawed bestiality as a felony offense in 2019. Although late to the party, Kentucky finally passed a law making bestiality a felony crime in 2019. In December, 2020 officers were dispatched to a domestic violence call in Berea. The victim told the officer her husband, Ray Howard hit her after she refused to have sex with a pig. In a federal case, Dale Allen Fraley is being tried in Lexington for setting up fake social media accounts to solicit nude selfies from teenaged girls. In at least one instance, he lured an 18-year-old to have sex with a dog.
Four U.S. states do not have laws to specifically prohibit bestiality, but that is slowly changing
Wyoming - Last summer, a Sweetwater, Wyoming detective began investigating complaints by a local horse owner who suspected horses were being sexually abused. The suspect was identified and even confessed to the crime, but because no law had technically been broken, nothing could be done. This incident prompted Rep. Clark Stith (R) to draft legislation that would afford law enforcement and prosecutors to act on situations like these. HB46 is being co-sponsored by Wyoming legislators on both sides of the aisle, and will be sent to the Judiciary Committee in March.
Hawaii - HB 1085 was introduced and passed the first reading in the state legislature.
West Virginia - A bill was introduced in the 2020 legislature but was blocked by the Senate Judiciary chairman.
New Mexico - A bill was drafted, but failed to meet the filing deadline.