Ohio lawmakers introduced a bill this week in hopes of outlawing bestiality.
Under a bill introduced Wednesday, bestiality would go from an act that is not necessarily illegal to a fifth-degree felony, 10TV's Josh Poland reported.
Ohio State Rep. Jay Goval sponsored the bill after a Shelby, Ohio, man was charged with animal cruelty. Peter Bower, 31, was charged after he allegedly had sexual contact with at least three dogs and possibly a horse.
"When I first heard about the incident in my district, I was shocked that there wasn't already a law on the books," Goval said.
He introduced the bill in the hopes of bringing harsher punishments for acts of bestiality but admitted that there is a challenge in enforcing such a law.
"This obviously would be more difficult because the animal obviously can't communicate," Goval said.
Dr. Laurie Millward of the Capital Area Humane Society said that she sees cases of animal abuse on a regular basis but she has never dealt with a bestiality case.
"It's absolutely a case of extreme animal cruelty," Millward said. "These animals are put through physical pain and suffering through these acts and something needs to be done legislative-wise."
"If we see that there is cause for action and our agents are present and they've investigated, and we know there is abuse or neglect present, we're going to move forward in prosecuting that individual for the crime," said Capital Area Humane Society chief operating officer Rachel Finney.
The bill would call for first time offenders to be sentenced to at least six months in prison and would make it impossible for those convicted to own a pet again, Poland reported.
In Bower's case, his dog could possibly be returned to him.
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