Advocates urge legislature to protect all animals from sexual abuse; make connection to pedophilia
01/12/2017 12:50 PM
Last week freshman Rep. Wesley Morgan, R-Richmond, introduced legislation which would ban sex with cats and dogs, but the bill stopped short by not including protections for other animals.
Morgan proposed House Bill 143 during the General Assembly’s first week in Frankfort.
Kentucky is one of only eight states in the nation without a bestiality law on the books, and advocates say it’s not only imperative to protect pets, but all animals from sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse of animals is occurring in the commonwealth advocates say, and there’s a real connection between those who abuse animals and those who rape and abuse children and adults.
Rebecca Eaves is the founder of Arrow Fund, a non-profit, that rescues pets and focuses on animal cruelty cases. Eaves thanked Morgan for bringing the bill, but wanted to make sure that other animals, which are being abused in the state, also receive protections.
“Kentucky needs this law,” Eaves said. “But we really feel that this bill should include all animals. Forty-one, now 42 states, with Ohio have bills that are against sexual relations and sexual assault, also known as bestiality, and they all include all animals.”
“I do not know why the state of Kentucky would want a bill to protect just dogs and cats,” she continued.
Eaves is not the only animal advocate urging further protections under the law. Kentucky Director of the Human Society of the United States, Kathryn Callahan, said her group was “grateful” to Rep. Morgan for taking up the issue, but farm animals were also at risk.
“Farm animals are among the most victimized when it comes to animal sexual abuse, and it also hurts farmers to try protect animals from predators to secretly gain entrance to their property for such purposes,” Callahan said. “Even though the current bill is limited to cats and dogs it still leaves out some of the most important aspects, including trafficking in animals for the purpose of sexual abuse.”
Those engaging in sex with animals is a “risk to public safety,” Callahan said pointing to data which shows 40 percent of pedophiles and human sexual offenders also sexually abuse animals.
By drafting a comprehensive bill for Kentucky, Callahan said that would help law enforcement identify and prosecute those engaging in the acts, before they reach communities.
“I have heard from law enforcement for a number of years, saying what can we do,” Callahan said. “Unfortunately, unless there is serious injury to the animal or the animal is killed no action can be taken under the criminal statutes — even then it’s only a misdemeanor.”
Eaves said that sexual abuse of animals is occurring in Kentucky frequently.
“You can say it doesn’t happen here. Wrong,” Eaves said. “This morning alone I talked to a veterinarian that I deal with, and I asked in your small animal practice … how often do you run into this? Without a beat she said monthly.”
Rep. Morgan’s bill does not engage in the additional protections, because the person drafting the bill did not want to “irritate” the Kentucky Farm Bureau or hunting and farming groups, according to a news report from the Louisville Courier Journal.
The Kentucky Farm Bureau did not return a phone call seeking comment for this story.
The Animal League Defense Fund survey found Kentucky to be the worst state in the nation for animal protections, an award the commonwealth has held for a decade.
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