During the 2018 Louisiana legislative session, the law makers created the crime of Sexual abuse of an animal. This statute can be found at La. R.S. 14:89.3. It reads as follows:
What is sexual abuse of an animal under Louisiana law?
Sexual abuse of an animal is the knowing and intentional performance of any of the following:
(1) Engaging in sexual contact with an animal.
(2) Possessing, selling, transferring, purchasing, or otherwise obtaining an animal with the intent that it be subject to sexual contact.
(3) Organizing, promoting, conducting, aiding or abetting, or participating in as an observer, any act involving sexual contact with an animal.
(4) Causing, coercing, aiding, or abetting another person to engage in sexual contact with an animal.
(5) Permitting sexual contact with an animal to be conducted on any premises under his charge or control.
(6) Advertising, soliciting, offering, or accepting the offer of an animal with the intent that it be used for sexual contact.
(7) Filming, distributing, or possessing pornographic images of a person and an animal engaged in any of the activities described above.
Important Definitions under this Law
“Animal” means any nonhuman creature, whether alive or dead.
“Sexual contact” means:
(a) Any act committed for the purpose of sexual arousal or sexual gratification, abuse, or financial gain, between a person and an animal involving contact between the sex organs or anus of one and the mouth, sex organs, or anus of the other.
(b) The insertion, however slight, of any part of the body of a person or any object into the vaginal or anal opening of an animal, touching by a person of the sex organs or anus of an animal, or the insertion of any part of the animal’s body into the vaginal or anal opening of the person.
This Section shall not apply to any of the following:
(1) Accepted veterinary practices.
(2) Artificial insemination of an animal for reproductive purposes.
(3) Accepted animal husbandry practices, including grooming, raising, breeding, or assisting with the birthing process of animals or any other procedure that provides care for an animal.
(4) Generally accepted practices related to the judging of breed conformation.
What are the penalties for this crime?
Whoever commits the offense of sexual abuse of an animal shall be fined not more than two thousand dollars, imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than 5 years, or both.
Whoever commits a second or subsequent offense of sexual abuse of an animal, shall be fined not less than five thousand dollars nor more than twenty-five thousand dollars, or imprisoned, with or without hard labor, for not more than 10 years, or both.
In addition to any other penalty imposed, a person convicted of violating this Section shall be ordered to:
(a) Relinquish custody of all animals.
(b) Not harbor, own, possess, or exercise control over any animal for any length of time deemed appropriate by the court, but not less than five years.
(c) Not reside in any household where an animal is present; engage in an occupation, whether paid or unpaid, involving animals; or participate in a volunteer position at any establishment where animals are present, for any length of time deemed appropriate by the court, but not less than five years.
(d) Undergo a psychological evaluation for sex offenders and participate in any recommended psychological treatment. Any costs associated with any evaluation or treatment ordered by the court shall be paid by the defendant.
(e) If the convicted person is not the owner, reimburse the owner for any expenses incurred for medical treatment or rehabilitation of the victimized animal.
(3) If a person convicted of the offense of sexual abuse of an animal is released on parole, the committee on parole shall require the person, as a condition of parole, to participate in a sex offender program as defined by R.S. 15:828(A)(2)(b).
Any law enforcement officer investigating a violation of this Section may lawfully take possession of an animal that he has reason to believe has been victimized under this Section in order to protect the health or safety of the animal or the health or safety of others, and to obtain evidence of the offense.
Any animal seized pursuant to this Section shall be promptly taken to a shelter facility or veterinary clinic to be examined by a veterinarian for evidence of sexual contact.
With respect to an animal so seized and impounded, all provisions of R.S. 14:102.2 and 102.3 shall apply to the seizure, impoundment, and disposition of the animal.
Prosecution under this Section shall not preclude prosecution under any other applicable provision of law.
Elizabeth B. Carpenter – Louisiana Criminal Defense Attorney