M Jenny Edwards
Criminologist, Independent Researcher
July 2010 - Southwest Florida prosecutors are powerless to prosecute an animal shelter employee who performed sex acts on a dog because of a loophole in the law. The investigation began with an investigation into possession of child pornography. --Assistant State Attorney, Beverly Andringa
Research indicates there may be thousands of animal sex abusers across the country, yet most prosecutors and judges will only see a single case during their careers.
Bestiality is an emotionally charged topic that often generates nationwide media attention as well as public outcry for harsh sentencing. Comparable case law is difficult to find because of the variability in the way cases are handled and classified across the country. A few states still do not have specific prohibitions against bestiality; others have left loopholes in the law; and more than a few charge the crime as something other than bestiality or animal cruelty, such as lewd conduct, criminal mischief, or property violation.
Although most U.S. states have specific statutes prohibiting sexual contact between humans and animals, some do not, and there are loopholes in many of the existing statutes. Please contact me if you need assistance in drafting or comparing laws from other jurisdictions, or if you need testimony in support of proposed legislation.
For Attorneys, Legislators, and the Judiciary
• What we know v what we need to know: background, history, extent of occurrence
• Variability in legal definitions, existing laws, charging and sentencing
• Victim and Offender Profiles, including related criminal and psychological behaviors
• Investigation, prosecution, and defense tactics
• Live evidence, witness testimony, when/how to use DNA testing
• Effective sentencing guidelines
• Ethical considerations including personal bias
• Basis, extent, and outcome of appeals