Florida and Ohio bestiality laws in play

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 10:48 AM

Florida considering a bill to mandate cross-reporting and raise the penaltis for bestiality

One of the challenges of investigating and successfully prosecuting bestiality cases is that the cases are often complex. Children may be being sexually abused, there may be domestic violence in the home, other issues like property code violations may be present.

In most states, law enforcement officers, child services, and code officers are not trained to work together when investigating a case. Michigan is one state that already mandates cross-reporting, and Florida has introduced a detailed bill that mandates cross-reporting and defines how key personnel from various departments should be trained.  

The Florida bill, SB 7000 also includes provisions for raising the level of bestiality from a misdemeanor to a felony.

Ohio bestiality prohibition is not statewide

In 2017, Ohio passed a complicated hodge-podge of laws contained in Senate Bill 331. In addition to making bestiality a misdemeanor offense, the bill included language creating a statewide minimum wage, banning pet stores from selling dogs from large-scale breeders, and something related to wireless facilities. 

Several counties objected to different portions of the bill, and in 2018 the law was repealed in 2018 .... but only in eight of Ohio's 88 counties. In other words, as of this writing, bestiality is no longer illegal in Erie, Fulton, Huron, Lucas, Ottawa, Sandusky, Williams, and Wood counties. 

In an attempt to correct the unintended consequences of the Appellate Court ruling, House Bill 350 has been introduced. Unfortunately, bestiality as been tagged onto what is actually an animal fighting bill, so it will be interesting to see how the bill fares.