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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Bestiality bill passes in House

    PHOENIX – The House gave its approval to make bestiality a crime again after a 29-year hiatus, but portions of the bill were criticized by legislators as being too restrictive.

    Several legislators said they were opposed to an amendment to the bill offered by Rep. Ted Downing, D-Tucson, which would require those convicted of bestiality to undergo psychological counseling and agree not to live in a home that had any pets.

    It was the second provision of Downing’s amendment that drew fire from legislators, who said Downing’s amendment made no distinction between animals commonly sexually abused, like dogs and cats, and pets that are unlikely to be sexually abused like parakeets and goldfish.

    Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, R-Gilbert, spoke out against the amendment, calling it “”poorly drafted.””

    He said the amendment went too far, making it unnecessarily difficult for convicted offenders to live with family or friends who have pets. He said the amendment made sense in some circumstances but was too broad because it would include birds and fish.

    Downing responded on the floor of the House to the criticism of his amendment, specifically referring to comments made by Rep. Pamela Gorman, R-Anthem.

    “”I’ve heard Rep. Gorman’s deep concern about parakeets,”” Downing said. “”It is my hope the legislation will be fixed in the conference committee.””

    The bill will be sent a to joint conference committee to iron out differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.

    The bill, SB 1160, was approved by the House on a vote of 51-2, with seven members not voting.

    Bestiality became a hot-button issue in the Legislature several 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.

    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 is facing disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing instead.

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