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Wyoming bans bestiality; Hawaii move toward ban would leave only two states without law

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CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon has signed House Bill 46 into law which will ban bestiality effective July 1, 2021.

Prior to the passage of the legislation, Wyoming was one of only four states with no law on the books prohibiting the sexual abuse of animals. A bill is making its way through the Hawaii Legislature and should it become law, that would leave only New Mexico and West Virginia without a law criminalizing bestiality.

Wyoming’s move to ban bestiality was prompted by an incident in Sweetwater County in summer 2020 in which a man was alleged to have trespassed onto private property and engage in sex acts with horses.

“I brought this bill as we had an incident in my county where law enforcement investigated it, proved essentially all of the elements that are in this bill but could not prosecute,” Rep. Clark Stith (Sweetwater County) said on first reading of House Bill 46.

The bill passed both the Wyoming House or Representatives and the Senate unanimously.

The Senate considered an amendment to the legislation on third reading that would have added additional penalties for someone found guilty of subsequent offenses of bestiality. This amendment was proposed by Sen. R.J Kost (Big Horn, Park County) but was defeated in the Senate.

House Bill 46 defines “sexual act with an animal” as “any act, between a person and an animal involving direct physical contact between the genitals of one and the mouth, anus or genitals of the other. A sexual act with an animal may be proved without evidence of penetration.”

A person would be committing a crime of bestiality if they:

  • engage in a sexual act with an animal
  • cause, aid or abet another in engaging in a sexual act with an animal
  • use any part of the actor’s body or an object to sexually stimulate an animal; or
  • visually record a person engaging in a sexual act with an animal

Someone convicted of bestiality could face prison sentences up to one year and/or fines up to $1,000.

The legislation would “not apply to or prohibit normal, ordinary or accepted practices involved in animal husbandry, artificial insemination or veterinary medicine.”

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