Week of 5/8/2017
During the two months that I’ve been tracking and covering bestiality crimes in the U.S. news, I’ve seen several comments (all from women) suggesting the perpetrators should be shot. Literally.
I suppose that’s a natural response when we first learn a stranger has exploited a powerless animal and may threaten the safety of nearby children. I’m a parent of three kids, so I understand the impulse to protect. And in a shrinking minority of states (e.g. Kentucky) where bestiality remains legal, parents are right to be angry that legislators do so little to protect children from sexual predators. But does Frankfort’s rabid intransigence against pro-animal legislation justify personal vigilantism?
Short answer: No. Defending one’s family or oneself against an imminent assault is one thing. And while lawmakers’ willful disregard of our children’s safety is stupid and callous, it does not warrant extrajudicial violence.
I feel sorry for Kerrie Lenkerd, who was arrested in Arkansas last month. Lenkerd had looked out her bedroom window and noticed someone raping her neighbor’s dog. So she grabbed her gun and went outside to confront the individual. One thing led to another, and apparently Lenkerd fired a warning shot. I’m sure she meant well. But while the Arkansas teenage dog rapist (who was literally caught with his pants down) now faces two counts of bestiality, it looks like Ms. Lenkerd faces a more serious charge. The kid who allegedly raped a dog can be charged with a class A misdemeanor. Lenkerd, meanwhile, appears to have committed a class D felony. I’m not sure how Arkansas criminal courts mete out punishment for such offenses, but felonies usually get longer sentences than misdemeanors.
Unlike their Arkansan counterparts, prosecutors in Kentucky have no bestiality law with which to charge someone who rapes an animal. If the Arkansas scenario played out here in Kentucky, maybe the rapist would have to pay a fine for trespassing, or do some community service. But the woman with the smoking gun could still be charged with and convicted of a felony offense.