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Did you know that bestiality is still legal in Ohio? And also in Vermont, Texas, West Virginia, Kentucky, Nevada, Hawaii, Wyoming, New Mexico, and Ohio? And Washington, DC? Help!

It’s my great relief to tell you that according to The Guardian, a bill making bestiality illegal has passed the Ohio legislature. The Humane Society of the United States has been campaigning for this bill, which, in addition to outlawing the sexual abuse of animals, would make it illegal to sell animals for sex. Senators Jim Hughes and Jay Hottinger are sponsoring the bill with the assistance of the Humane Society’s animal cruelty policy director, Leighann Lassiter.

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Lassiter sold the bill to senators as something that could potentially prevent child abuse, arguing that there are sometimes connections between people who abuse animals and people who abuse children. It does sound as though animal abusers in Ohio have organized crime rings in place, and the bill would help law enforcement to identify them:

“There are people out there who train animals for sex,” she said. “You can give them your dog and they will train your dog to have sex with a human and send it back to you. And they get paid for it.

“It is a very, very seedy world when it comes to animal sexual abuse and it is extremely common.”

States where bestiality is illegal do have animal cruelty laws, Lassiter said, but these are often inadequate when it comes to people sexually abusing animals. A person sexually abusing an animal might only be prosecuted if the animal is injured, while livestock or wild animals may be exempt from existing law.

“We’ve got cases of people grabbing birds and having sex with birds. And killing the birds. It is really really disturbing,” Lassiter said.

Disturbing indeed, but it’s not as if the powerful animal sex lobby is a threat to look out for. In fact, most bestiality laws on the books were frequently tied to laws about gay sex and sodomy, which were ruled unconstitutional in 2003. Many states haven’t gotten around to writing new laws protecting animals from sexual abuse, perhaps because they were so busy slowly eroding women’s constitutional right to bodily autonomy. The bill still needs Governor Kasich’s signature to become law.