M Jenny Edwards
SME, Animal Sexual Abuse and Exploitation
January 14, 2015; Updated February 15, 2015
Bestiality has been happening for centuries, and women have always been involved. To be fair, the indications in ancient art and history are far fewer than those for men, but they do exist.
Probably the most famous example is Leda and the swan from Greek mythology. The gist of the story is that the god Zeus took the form of a swan and became Leda's lover – either by force or by consent. Leda also made love with her husband that night, and two children were born – either hatched from eggs or born the “normal” way, depending on which version of the story you follow.
Some studies have shown that between two and four percent of women may engage in bestiality, generally with a household pet. That number might sound small, until you consider that 2% of the female population in the US is a little more than 3 million people.
So it really should come as no surprise when we read current news stories about women being arrested for having sex with an animal – often her dog, sometimes along with her man, and sometimes after being coerced by threats or drugs or violence.
Prior to 2000, there were extremely few arrests of women for animal sex-related activity. In the years between 1988 and 2002 for example, only three can be verified. In all three cases, the women involved were porn actors, associated with porn filmmakers, or were themselves distributors of pornography.
But sometime in the mid-90's people began using the Internet at an unprecedented rate. And that changed everything.
The Internet brings people together across time zones and geography, across interests and racial divides, across age and gender differences. And it has had an enormous impact on the ways in which people interested in having sex with animals can come together. No pun intended.
In the past ten years, we have seen a dramatic increase in the number of arrests for bestiality overall, and a surprising number of them have involved single women or couples. More than 30% of the arrests involving women have also involved child sexual abuse or exploitation, 12% involved incest, and only 4% of the time were the women coerced.
Here are some recent examples:
TEENS, BULLYING, AND BESTIALITY
In March, Lauren Bush and another female bullied and threatened a severely autistic boy. All three were students at the same southern Maryland high school. Sometime late in November and December of 2013, the girls forced the boy to masturbate and have sex with the family dog. They held a knife to his throat and kicked him in the groin. They dragged him around by his hair and lured him onto a partially frozen pond. When he fell in, they refused to help him out of the frigid water. The girls recorded the abuse on their cell phones. Bush, who is 17, was charged as an adult with first-degree assault, false imprisonment, and production of child pornography. She later pleaded guilty and was sent to an out of state detention facility.
JEALOUSY, POISON, AND BESTIALITY
In August, 53 year-old Shari Walter was arrested in NM after trying to poison her boyfriend and his roommate, after it was discovered that she had been having sex with the roommate's German Shepherds. The dogs' owner had caught Walter in the act in late July, and confronted her with the crime. Upset at having been caught, Walter prepared a dinner laced with toilet bowl cleaner and rubbing alcohol. After her boyfriend dumped her, she promised to stop poisoning him if he would take her back. Walter was charged with animal cruelty and assault with the attempt to commit a violent felony. No word on whether the boyfriend returned.
SEX PLAY, SECRETS, AND BESTIALITY
In October, Bob and Brenda Mettler, a couple in their early 40's, were arrested after posting a video on the Internet, showing Brenda having sex with their pet dog. Brenda claims the video was taken years earlier and that she wasn't aware her husband had posted it anywhere. Bob said it had always been his fantasy to see women performing sex with animals, so in addition to filming Brenda, he collected other such images. The Mettlers posted bond and are awaiting trial on charges of sodomy, animal cruelty, and distribution of pornography.
DRUGS, CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE, AND BESTIALITY
Angeline Lodice, 26 was also arrested in October for having sex with a toddler as well as a dog. Videos of the abuse were sent to a relative of Lodice, who turned them over to the child's father. Lodice claims she was drugged when the incident happened, and said she could not identify the child. She has been booked on charges of aggravated rape of a child as well as pornography distribution. If found guilty, Lodice is facing a life sentence.
INCEST, VIOLENCE, AND BESTIALITY
One of the most dramatic cases involving couples came to light in mid-December. Christopher Sena, his wife Deborah, and his ex-wife Terrie, were all arrested after Deborah, 50 came forward with a tale of abuse, incest, and bestiality. Videotapes have surfaced of as many as eight children being sexually abused over a period of at least twelve years. The Sena's own children were sexually assaulted, as was the family dog. Sena threatened the children and wives if they did not cooperate. Collectively, they are facing more than a hundred criminal counts against them, including incest, child sexual assault, manufacture of child pornography, and coercion. There are no charges for bestiality because Nevada does not have a law prohibiting it.
MOTHER, FATHER, SON AND BESTIALITY
Carl Riley, 23 was under investigation for downloading child pornograpy. His stash included images of children as young as four, being sexually abused by adults. During the search of his home in May 2012, police found a "plethora" of electronic devices containing evidence. Unfortunately for Carl's parents, some of that evidence included videos of Carl's mother having sex with the family dog while his father filmed the action. In 2013 Carl violated probation by sending a selfie of a child performing a sex act on him to a female he wanted to date. He later denied he was the man in the image, but the damage was already done.
Meanwhile, Carl's father, 51-year-old Paul Riley, was arrested for not only filming the mother's sex acts with the dog, but for the 500 other images of bestiality police found on his computer. Carl's mother, Sandra Wilson, received a citation, but was not arrested. During a hearing, Sandra said "everybody was drunk" and her husband had been pestering her for a long time to have sex with the dog. The judge determined she was complicit, but he was more angered by the father's transgressions. Father and son were sentenced together on January 14, 2015, with Carl receiving 3 years in prison, and Paul receiving 18 months.
WOMAN, CHILDREN, AND BESTIALITY
On February 9, 2015 officers arrested 35 year-old Anglique Mendell for posting videos showing young children performing sexual acts on her, while she performed sexual acts on a dog. Mendell was previously investigated in 2002, but there was insufficient evidence to charge her at that time. During an investigation into a known child porn distributor, an agent with the FBI's Innocent Images National Initiative was led to Mendell. All three of Mendell’s children have been removed from the home, and she is currently being held on a $250,000 cash bond.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
The examples above are sadly representative of the phenomenon of women loving animals a little too much. And just like their male counterparts, there's no consistent profile for the animal sex abuser.. They come from all walks of life and range in age and motivation, but unlike their male counterparts, the women involved are generally in heterosexual relationships.
More research needs to be done to understand the reasons why animals are sexually abused. Many studies have indicated that our sexual preferences develop early in childhood, and the earlier we detect aberrant or negative behavior, the better are our chances at redirecting a person's choices. Attraction to animals may very well be a sexual orientation, and as such, there is no "cure."
Women and Bestiality: Is the problem growing?
Mettler & Mettler