Two New York men were arrested for sexually abusing cows. Michael H. Jones, age 35, and Reid A. Fontaine, age 31, were charged with sexual misconduct with animals. Authorities identified the suspects after reviewing a Herkimer farmer’s surveillance video.
The farmer realized something was wrong when several of his cows stopped producing milk. As the issue is often prompted by anxiety, the farmer was concerned that his cows were being harmed. He set up a video surveillance system inside his barn to monitor the cows.
As reported by Syracuse.com, the Herkimer farmer reviewed the footage and was stunned to discover two men sneaking into his barn. Even more disturbing, Jones and Fontaine appeared to be sexually abusing the cows. Authorities said Jones was filming Fontaine as he attempted to have sexual relations with several cows.
Both men were arrested and charged with misdemeanor sexual misconduct. They were released upon receipt of the charges. However, Jones and Fontaine are required to return to court for their arraignment.
Sexual abuse of cows and other animals is a harsh reality nationwide. Although 35 states have specific laws prohibiting sexual conduct with animals, fifteen others do not.
States that specifically prohibit bestiality have clear laws and sentencing guidelines. However, a majority of the remaining states classify sexual abuse of animals under obscenity or general abuse laws. Animal rights organizations are fighting to clarify the laws and require offender registration.
The Animal League Defense Fund suggests a registry, which will identify those convicted of animal abuse. The organization is also fighting for strict laws, which include mandatory sentencing. The legislation would also prohibit offenders from owning or working with animals for at least five years following a conviction.
The ALDF is specifically concerned about offenders who abuse their own animals. During prosecution, the animals often remain in the offender’s care. Few states enforce forfeiture prior to conviction. Therefore, the animals may be exposed to continued abuse.
Offenders who sexually abuse cows and other animals are not only risking criminal prosecution, the practice may have serious health consequences. A study, lead by urologist Stenio de Cassio Zequi suggests that men who have sex with animals may have an increased risk of developing penile cancer.
Huffington Post reports that the practice can “produce micro-traumas in the human penile tissue.” According to the research, men who had sexual relations with animals were more likely to develop penile cancer. The researchers also concluded that people who sexually abuse cows and other animals report more frequent venereal disease.
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