It is no longer legal in Ohio to have sex with animals.
Ohio’s law banning bestiality went into effect Tuesday.
“It’s a crime that defies explanation to the rational person,” said Mark Kumpf, director of the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center. “We’re dealing with a different species.”
Previous efforts in 2011 and 2015 to ban it did not gain enough support in the Ohio General Assembly so Ohio was one of the few states that didn’t have an actual law on the books outlawing bestiality.
The bestiality ban finally got enough votes to pass in December after being folded into a bill that also bans local jurisdictions from raising the minimum wage or regulating pet stores.
The new bestiality ban:
* Prohibits a person from engaging in sexual conduct with an animal and related acts.
* Provides for the seizure and impoundment of an animal that is the subject of a violation.
* Authorizes a sentencing court to require an offender to undergo psychological evaluation or counseling.
* Makes bestiality a second degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.
State Senators Jim Hughes, R-Upper Arlington, and Jay Hottinger, R-Newark, sponsored the bill banning bestiality. Hughes had been trying since 2011 to get a ban in place and was supported by a variety of animal welfare groups.
“I think this is something that is sickening and perverse and we don’t want Ohio to be the place you can come and have sex with an animal,” Hughes, R-Upper Arlington, said in an earlier interview.
Eight states and Washington D.C. still do not have laws against sexual conduct with animals.
Officials in those states might be more likely to ban sex with animals if they realized the connections between bestiality and child sex abuse, said aid Fairfax Virginia Police Detective Jeremy Hoffman, who spent years focused on internet crimes against children.
“I found that people who were engaged in crimes against children were also engaged in sexual crimes against animals,” Hoffman said. “It was people from everyday walks of life. There was no stereotype that you could pin to any of them.”
Like children, animals are incapable of consent and unable to tell on their abuser, said Hoffman.
He and Kumpf said state’s may mistakenly think animal cruelty laws are enough. But Kumpf said abused animals do not always sustain the kind of injuries that would lead to a cruelty conviction. The one case he recalls where the county confiscated a dog that had allegedly been sexually assaulted by a male resulted dismissal of the charges.
“It’s important that we have this as one of the tools in the box to deal with folks,” said Kumpf.
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