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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Legislators acting sheepishly over bestiality

    After reading recent headlines coming out of Phoenix, a line from “”The Truth About Cats and Dogs”” has plagued my mind: “”It’s OK to love your pets, you just don’t LOVE your pets.””

    Three weeks ago in Mesa, a deputy fire chief was caught trying to have sex with a sheep in his neighbor’s barn. Yes, you heard it right: A man made a conscious effort to walk to his neighbor’s house, find a sheep and take it to the barn. Eyes bloodshot and speech slurred, his only line to his neighbor was, according to police reports, “”You caught me; I was trying to fuck your sheep.””

    Aside from many other disturbing aspects of the case, what added insult to moral injury were the charges brought against the man: disorderly conduct, criminal trespassing, and public sexual indecency – all misdemeanors. The man held down a sheep to

    Arizona has animal cruelty laws, but
    bestiality is not specifically listed.

    satisfy his carnal hunger, and he got about the same charges as a drunken college student would get for stumbling into a neighbor’s yard to urinate. The reason for this gap between crime and punishment is simple: Arizona is one of only 14 states that do not have a bestiality law.

    Washington just ran into a similarly embarrassing legislative situation when a man died from massive internal bleeding caused by sexual acts with a stallion. In response, the Washington legislature drafted a law prohibiting acts of bestiality. Arizona needs to take a page from our fast-moving friends to the north.

    Arizona has animal cruelty laws, which this case certainly falls under, but bestiality is not specifically listed in the statutes. Certain crimes are listed, such as hotly disputed cockfighting and dog fighting, and the laws include the typical mistreatment and malnourishment statutes. But there is no statute involving sexual contact – only laws involving intentionally or knowingly causing unnecessary physical injury to the animal. If the horse incident had happened in Arizona, a judge would have a difficult time finding physical abuse against the animal, when it was the horse’s partner who was dead.

    Although slightly outdated, professor Alfred Kinsey’s studies on sex revealed that 17 percent of farm boys had engaged in a sexual encounter with an animal. That is one in six farm boys on average, a statistic with stunning repercussions for a state like Arizona, which counts cattle among its agricultural staples. It would seem a state that has spent a large majority of its history involved with farm animals would have a law protecting them.

    The sheep does have an ally in its fight for protection: Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio – a man known more for constricting the rights of his constituents than expanding them. Arpaio issued a public statement against the terrible act and called upon the state Legislature to fix the egregious legal loophole. “”And if they don’t,”” Arpaio said, “”I’m going to the people.”” Bravo sheriff; your public relations office must be beaming.

    The sheriff is right, though – this is a perfect time for the legislatures to create a win-win situation. The creation of a bipartisan law that upholds moral standards, protects animals and addresses a public concern would be a great way to pad the resume of any incumbent running for election.

    And more importantly, making a sexual act with an animal a felony would send a message to animal abusers in this state: We will not tolerate the abuse of any creature, large or small.

    Mike Morefield is a political science senior. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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