A Republican-sponsored bill that would criminalize sexual contact with animals is making its way toward the law books in Alaska, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports
. The bill cleared the Alaska Senate State Affairs Committee on Tuesday.
Rep. Bob Lynn, who sponsored the bill, says animal abusers are more likely to prey on children or vulnerable adults. Animal control commissioners in Fairbanks have lined up to show their support, saying Lynn's legislation will give them legal options for dealing with cases involving sexually abused animals. A veterinarian from the Gastineau Humane Society in Juneau said the state faces a "cycle of abuse."
Ronnie Rosenberg, the chairwoman of the Fairbanks commission, told the state senate committee Tuesday that volunteers at animal shelters regularly treat animals traumatized by humans attempting to engage in sexual acts with them. Last summer, an active duty soldier was accused of sodomizing a dachshund that eventually needed medical care and a more recent case reportedly involved a puppy.
"It's very important that we have the [legal] tools so the troopers can pursue these," Rosenberg said of animal sexual cruelty cases.
Alaska law prohibits the killing or torturing of animals. The new bill would add "knowingly . . . engag[ing] in sexual conduct with an animal" to the list of practices that are considered misdemeanors.