The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

64° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    House passes bill to make bestiality a crime again

    PHOENIXð – Public calls for outlawing bestiality will became reality this week after a committee approved the bill.

    The House Counties, Municipalities and Military Affairs Committee unanimously approved a bill earlier this week making bestiality a crime in the state of Arizona.

    The bill was introduced in the last week of meetings for the committee and was introduced through a desperate measure that required the death of another bill.

    Using the “”strike all”” amendment, Rep. John Nelson, R-Litchfield Park, gutted the original language from HB 1160, which was designed to remove a law barring the community facilities district from issuing bonds, and substituted the language outlawing bestiality.

    Perhaps people will understand that this crime could happen to another dog, a child or a person, and the criminals must be held accountable for their actions.

    – Mary Robertson,
    Arizona resident

    Bestiality became a hot-button issue at the legislature three weeks ago, when legislators heard the high-profile story of a Mesa Fire Department deputy fire chief who was caught trying to have sex with a sheep.

    The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office reported Leroy Donald Johnson was caught in his neighbor’s barn trying to have sex with a lamb.

    According to Sheriff’s Office reports, Johnson reportedly told his neighbor, “”You caught me … I tried to fuck your sheep.””

    The report also states that before the 51-year-old grabbed the lamb, he knocked on the front and back doors of his neighbor’s house while his neighbor’s 13-year-old daughter was home alone.

    The report states Johnson had bloodshot eyes and smelled of alcohol when caught by his neighbor with the sheep.

    Because there is no current law covering bestiality, Johnson was facing disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing instead.

    Animal rights advocates, who helped Nelson write the bill, were thrilled to put a bestiality law on the books after a 29-year absence. There was a law outlawing bestiality in Arizona in 1977, but it was removed after legislators revised state laws.

    “”We are delighted with our legislature and commend them for hearing the concerns of our community regarding this awful act,”” said Cheryl Naumann, Arizona Humane Society president and chief executive officer. “”The act of having sexual relations with animals isn’t only extremely depraved and downright hideous, but it typically causes suffering and severe injury to the animal and must not be tolerated in this state.””

    Mary Robertson, owner of a 5-year-old toy poodle, “”Sassy,”” that was recently sodomized, told the committee the details surrounding the brutal attack on her dog and asked legislators to pass Nelson’s bill.

    Robertson, carrying a 2-foot-by-2-foot photograph of her dog, said afterward she was grateful for the passage of the bill.

    “”Perhaps people will understand that this crime could happen to another dog, a child or a person, and the criminals must be held accountable for their actions,”” Robertson said.

    The law would make bestiality a class 3 felony for minors younger than 15 years old and a class 6 felony for all other offenders.

    Mark Soto, the enforcement operations supervisor for Pima Animal Care Center in Tucson, said he was glad to see the legislation being discussed in the legislature.

    He said he has seen several animals who were suspected of being sodomized, but said it was not something that happens very often.

    The bill will be heard next by the Senate Rules Committee.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search