Ohio Activists Call for Law Making Sexual Assault of Animals a FelonyPosted by Stephanie Ulmer, Guest Blogger on July 13th, 2011
Peter Bower of Shelby, Ohio, was arrested on May 18th, 2011, and charged
with two counts of animal cruelty after allegations that he had sex with three companion dogs
and possibly a horse owned by a local equestrian center. KAIT 8 News
reported that during a police search of his home, photos of Bower having
sex with animals were discovered, as well as online postings of his
acts found on his computer. Authorities also found a book on bestiality
and a plastic, blowup sheep. Another scary detail is that Bower
advertised dog walking and sitting services in his neighborhood and at
his local animal shelter.
Despite the absolute heinousness of these alleged actions, Bower is only facing misdemeanor charges, as Ohio has no first-offense felony animal cruelty laws, nor any separate laws specifically prohibiting the sexual assault of animals. But this case has gained much attention and has led some to act. "If this had been a child, there would have been an uproar about it," concerned citizen Joyce Fields told the Mansfield News Journal. "There isn't much difference because this pet didn't accept or consent to what he was doing." Fields has started a petition, along with a local animal advocacy group, seeking to expressly outlaw the sexual assault of animals. Fields hopes that Ohio will pass a law to coincide with the 36 other states that already have laws prohibiting such acts, separate from other forms of animal cruelty. Response to the action has been swift, as State Rep. Jay Goyal has said recently that his office is already working on a draft of such legislation.
Fields also started an additional petition in which she seeks to bar Bower from owning or interacting with any animals, and she will present it to the prosecutors and judge at Bower’s pretrial hearing on July 18th. In addition, authorities are looking into whether charges can be brought against Bower for disseminating pornography.