© M JENNY EDWARDS 2019
Warning: This site containts information that is descriptive or graphic in nature.
Animal Sex Abuse
ANIMAL SEX ABUSE: THE BEST KEPT CRIMINAL SECRET
Bestiality (sometimes incorrectly referred to as zoophilia) is an uncomfortable topic about which there is little reliable information. Defined simply, it is intentional sexually-motivated contact between a person and an animal, and is specifically illegal in most US states and most foreign countries.
HOW OFTEN DOES IT HAPPEN?
It's a common misconception that animal sex abuse rarely happens, or that anyone who does it must have a psychological disorder.
"I find it hard to believe this happened. An officer
would have to witness it before we could investigate."
--Police dispatcher to woman reporting she witnessed a man having sex with a dog
People who are unfamiliar with animal behavior often believe the animal isn't being harmed because it can always fight back or get away. In reality, most domesticated animals will do what they are trained to do, even if they are harmed or it is against their natural behavior.
"Remember the horse sex case where the men were penetrated
by horses? I find it hard to find abuse there."
-- Legislative committee member being asked for support on a bestiality bill
Although reports of bestiality may seem to be rare, it actually happens far more often than you think. Research suggests that as much as 5% of the population is sexually interested in animals. Studies of different groups of incarcerated or institutionalized offenders support that number: Among incarcerated animal cruelty offenders, 23.3% also //// In a review of multiple studies of juvenile offenders, 14%
* 14% of juvenile sex offenders admitted to undetected acts of bestiality (Schenk, 2014)
* 23% of adult males incarcerated for animal cruelty had committed bestiality (Levitt, 2016).
* 38% of convicted sex abusers reported also committing bestiality, and were more likely than convicted rapists to have done so (Simons Wurtele 2008)
WHO DOES IT?
There is no single profile That fits all animal sex offenders, just as there is no single profile that fits all human sex offenders. While the majority of offenders are white, middle-aged men, the number of women and couples has risen in recent years, and cases have been reported worldwide, so ethnicity, race, gender, and even primary sexual preference can vary.
Based on a new study (Edwards, 2019) animal sex abusers are primarily males between the ages of 18 and 82. About 14% of offenders are females ranging in age from 18 to 61.
Although most offenders are White, at least one quarter of offenders are Black, Hispanic, Native American, and foreign born. More than half of all offenders have a criminal history involving interpersonal violence, child and adult sexual abuse, substance abuse, and property-related offenses such as trespass or theft.
A small percentage of offenders (8%) have other unusual sexual interests besides bestiality, including coprophilia (sexual pleasure from feces or defecation), urophilia (sexual excitement associated with urine, also called watersport), voyeurism ("peeping tom"), pedophilia (sexual arousal toward children or minors), and necrophilia (sexual interest in dead bodies).
WHY IS IT ILLEGAL?
For some individuals, zoophilia - an atypical sexual interest in, or attract to, animals - may be a form of sexual orientation. "Zoos" who preferentially choose animals as sexual partners insist that they treat their animals well and that they are not used for sexual until they are mature and property trained, for the majority of society, sex acts between people and animals is completely repugnant or seen as a form of animal cruelty.
There are significant, measurable links between bestiality and other criminal behavior.
Bestiality has been linked to a number of other criminal acts such as child and adult sexual abuse, making and distribution of extreme pornography, and interpersonal violence. Research has indicated that most boys who are sexually interested in animals have had their first experience by age 13.
• Bestiality, particularly when experiences as a child, has been shown to be the single largest risk factor and strongest predictor of increased risk for committing child sexual abuse (Abel 2009).
• Thirty-four percent (34%) of arrests for bestiality also involve child sexual abuse or exploitation.
Bestiality is a significant social justice issue, and the full extent of the problem is unknown.
• Virtually all statistics related to bestiality are artificially low and may create a false sense of security that “it never happens in my district.” There are no reliable statistics nationwide on animal sexual abuse, but we do know that arrests for bestiality have occurred in every single state in the U.S.
• Bestiality is not “just” an act of animal cruelty; it is an act of sexual assault and exploitation. Bestiality offenders behave much like pedophiles or rapists. They train their animals to accept or give penetration and other forms of sexual contact, photograph them in sexual situations, collect and share animal pornography, talk about their encounters with other animal sex abusers in private chat rooms, and frequently work in and around animal-related organizations such as veterinary clinics, animal shelters, and barns. Predators seek out their victims and trespass or break into properties in order to gain access to their sexual targets. These encounters frequently result in injury or death to the animal.
The problem is complex, and it is growing.
• Since 2005, the number of arrests for bestiality has risen dramatically. There were more than twice as many arrests in 2015 than in the entire period between 1970 -2000. The internet has made it extremely easy for animal sex abusers to connect with one another, in effect normalizing their behavior. As of this writing, one site that caters to animal sex abusers boasts more than a million members, with 10,000 of them active at any moment in time.
• There is growing evidence that bestiality may be a lifelong sexual orientation and not just something that happens rarely.
WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE?
In RESEARCH, you'll find summaries of current and validated research, as well as articles and commentaries on issues related to zoophilia and bestiality. In CASE SUMMARIES you'll find current or notable cases grouped by primary case elements (e.g. when a child was also sexually abused, or an animal was significantly injured.). Cases are updated regularly on this website as well as on Facebook.
Specialized TRAINING is also available for enforcement officers, veterinarians, and mental health practitioners, and legal professionals.