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Week of 5/1/2017

Week of 5/1/2017

Sometimes when Kentucky lawmakers hear a proposal for a new law that would protect animals against abuse and cruelty, their automatic responses are “1) We already have enough laws protecting animals,” and “2) The abuse you want to criminalize isn’t a problem here.”

Those good ol’ boys can be pretty tone-deaf when trying to banish us hated animal welfare do-gooders, but would they go so far as to jeopardize the safety and well-being of Kentucky children? In the 2017 session, the General Assembly did next to nothing to advance two separate bestiality bills. Either bill would have been a slam-dunk, but the dominant mindset in Frankfort doesn’t help exploited children when doing so would also protect animals. At least that’s how it looks from where I’m standing.

As for the idea that “it’s not a problem here,” maybe Kentucky really is a magical state whose citizens are uniformly incapable of harming helpless creatures. That must be why we never hear about animal rapists from Kentucky, right? Couldn’t be that there’s no law against it, so Kentucky prosecutors are almost never able to charge offenders with bestiality, could it?

Three new criminal bestiality stories recently appeared on US news wires. The first is from Auburn, Maine — where a 55-year-old man is accused of raping his dog before killing her. According to court documents, Thomas Wentworth killed his dog by “putting a plastic bag over its head and spraying ether into it, slowly suffocating it.” Wentworth also faces charges for violating probation, and domestic violence. In Kentucky, he could’ve been prosecuted for cruelty because he killed the dog. Had he merely raped her without leaving signs of physical harm, his case wouldn’t be so easy to prosecute.

In New Hampshire, prosecutors seem perfectly able to get animal rapists incarcerated. For example, take Nicholas Coll, who in 2014 pled guilty to raping dogs and received a one-year sentence. Then in March of 2015, Coll was back in court after soliciting an undercover detective on Facebook for sex with the officer’s dog. This earned him an additional three-to-seven-year sentence, though no dog was harmed in the process. Fast-forward to last week, when Coll was denied parole. He’s still serving time in the Granite State, thanks in part to a legislature that cared enough about children to outlaw bestiality regardless of how many animals might be spared.

Bestiality isn’t just for dogs, though. On Monday in Wisconsin, serial horse rapist Sterling Rachwal was booked on various recommended charges including “Sexual Gratification with an Animal.” Details of Rachwal’s latest alleged offense have yet to emerge. One thing’s already certain, though: bestiality is a serious crime in Wisconsin. So why not here in Kentucky? Oh yeah, that’s right … it isn’t a problem here. I keep forgetting!