The subsection criminalizes both knowingly engaging in sexual conduct with an animal as well as filming or photographing another person doing so (Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Washington have similar film prohibitions).
The commercial gain involved in distributing such images online may fuel the continued sexual assault of animals.
Bestiality laws focus on what can be considered by society to be an immoral or taboo act.
As such, many state laws mandate psychological counseling those convicted under such laws (Arizona and Washington among others).
States have moved from categorizing these acts as crimes against morality to viewing them as a form of animal cruelty.
In fact, several states specifically include such acts under their animal cruelty codes. In this case, the defendant pleaded no contest to committing an “abominable and detestable crime against nature” with a sheep under MCL 750.158.
This is often required at the perpetrator's expense.
More recent laws also mandate forfeiture of animals owned by the defendant and restrictions on future ownership.
Notably, the legality of bestiality is not controlled from the federal level. The act of bestiality was often placed in statute that covered other sexual acts that were historically considered "unnatural" and "perverted" (Maryland), or "abominable" and "detestable" (Rhode Island).The only relevant federal law is the sodomy law under the military code. One state (South Carolina) still refers to the activity as "buggery." The majority of states label their laws dealing with this conduct "bestiality."Recent enactments contain another provision that the older laws do not: a prohibition on the photographing or filming of sexual acts with animals.This law provides that “[a]ny person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with . Alaska, for example, amended its laws in 2010 to include sexual conduct with an animal under its general cruelty provisions.While designating this conduct as cruelty can be seen as a step toward greater animal welfare, California and Oregon have gone beyond this by calling the act "sexual assault of an animal." This change may reflect these states' assessment that animals are incapable of consenting to such acts. In addition to sentencing consistent with being habitual offender, the trial court found that defendant's actions evidenced sexual perversion, so the court ordered defendant to register under the Sex Offenders Registration Act (“SORA”).
In some states, offenders may be subject to sexual assault registry laws. Defendant only appealed the propriety of the trial court's order requiring him to register as a sex offender.Nevada (law effective on October 1, 2017) requires that the perpetrator reimburse the owner for the medical costs incurred by the assault if the animal is not owned by the perpetrator.