Webinar presenter Jenny Edwards answered a number of your questions after her presentation, Sex, Lies, and Videotape: What Every Law Enforcement Officer Needs to Know about Bestiality. Here are just a few of her responses.
Audience Question: Have you found that bestiality is linked to cultural or religious influences?
Jenny Edwards: Somewhat. It is likely that our feeling that bestiality is taboo and strictly forbidden comes from biblical teachings that any form of sex that doesn’t lead to children is a “crime against nature” – a term still used in some state laws. There is no evidence, however, that bestiality is related to any satanic or other cult-related practices.
Audience Question: Our state doesn’t give any sort of protection if we suspect or report animal abuse. If we report it, then we can feasibly be sued or and brought up against on ethics violations. In your experience, are you seeing any movement for a federal protection for veterinarians reporting animal abuse or bestiality?
Jenny Edwards: There are some state laws, but no federal laws that protect veterinarians or other professionals from reporting animal abuse. That said, with regard to bestiality prosecutions, I’m not aware of any cases where the accused has successfully sued a veterinarian who reported the abuse.
Audience Question: Even with no HIPAA laws for animals, we often have difficulty getting records from other veterinarians because of quote-unquote, customer privacy. Do you have any recommendations on how to handle this?
Jenny Edwards: Well, I think you could certainly bring up the fact that HIPAA laws protect privacy for a person’s medical history, but there’s no equivalent for animal medical history. I’ve had the best results in obtaining records by getting on the phone with the veterinarian and explaining why I’m reaching out and looking for the records that I’m looking for, rather than just sending an email.
Audience Question: Would involvement in treatment be an appropriate alternative for somebody who has been diagnosed with zoophilia?
Jenny Edwards: Let me start by saying there is no known effective treatment for zoophilia. My personal opinion is that zoophilia is a sexual orientation, so if you’re attracted to animals, you’re always going to be attracted to animals; you’re just wired that way. There has been some limited success with treating zoophilia as addictive behavior, but neither drug nor counseling therapies have been reported as completely successful.
Audience Question: Could role-play or the furry lifestyle be gateways to bestiality?
Jenny Edwards: About 5% of the furry community is involved in zoophilia or other role-playing activities, but there’s no evidence that one behavior leads to the other.
Audience Question: Are there specific apps or websites that are popular for bestiality that we should be aware of? Are there certain terms or that are specific towards bestiality that we should be aware of. Just any vocabulary that when we see something on a post, just like how gangs have their secret hand signs and the way that they hear certain things, are there certain terms that we should be aware of?
Jenny Edwards: Like any “alternative” group, there are terms and online communities specific to those lifestyles. One example term is “knotting” or “tying”. When dogs mate, the end of the male dog’s penis gets bulbous and enlarged. The purpose is to keep the male and female locked together so that as much semen gets deposited as possible. Some humans find that sexually pleasurable when being penetrated by a dog, so you might find aliases or people who online who have names like “KnottyMe” or something like that. I do maintain a dictionary of terms and other resources that I share with law enforcement who attend my classes, but I don’t share it publicly.
Audience Question: Have you heard the term cub furs?
Jenny Edwards: I have. Cubs are younger furries as opposed to “gray muzzles”, which is the term for older furries. Cubs and furries are not specifically related to bestiality, though.
Audience Question: Given the connection to other crimes of a sexual nature are any courts starting to require convicted offenders to register as sex offenders?
Jenny Edwards: Not as much as I would like honestly. There’s a lot of controversy about sex offender registries in general. For example, there has been some research by the Department of Justice indicating registries for human sex offenders are not really that helpful. They do inform the public when someone is moving into their neighborhood, but what they don’t do is prevent additional sex abuse from happening. The other difficulty with animal sex offender registries relates to administration: how does the registry get updated, who keeps track of offender movement – would it be animal control officers? Parole officers? Regular law enforcement? So currently, only four or five states order animal sex offenders to register.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of Sex, Lies, and Videotape: What Every Law Enforcement Officer Needs to Know about Bestiality.