2008-01-04 Viol d'une chèvre en Floride (EN)

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Goat abuse sparks outcry

The Miami Herald ^ | Fri, Jan. 04, 2008 | MARC CAPUTO


After a goat was raped and killed in a Panhandle town, animal activists, police and citizens were almost as shocked to find out that bestiality isn't a crime in Florida.

But it might be soon.

A Sunrise state senator and a St. Petersburg representative have filed legislation to make it a first-degree felony to have sex with animals or promote or advertise bestiality.

It's true. It's sick. There needs to be a law, said Democratic Sen. Nan Rich, a longtime crusader for children and animal rights. ``There are 30 states that make this a crime. Florida isn't one of them.

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who called the situation unbelievable, said Thursday he would sign the bill into law if it made it to his desk.

Rich said she was as shocked as she was disgusted when she learned of the rape and asphyxiation last year of a family pet goat named Meg -- who was pregnant with twins -- in the town of Mossy Head in rural Walton County.

A suspect in the case, a 48-year-old man, is serving an 11-month, 29-day jail sentence on animal-theft charges in connection with the attempted abduction of another goat in a separate case, according to Walton County Assistant State Attorney James Parker.

Parker said he couldn't prosecute the suspect in the death of Meg because DNA samples taken with a sheriff's office rape kit were inconclusive.

Parker said he asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement last week to retest the evidence.

But even if there's a DNA match, Parker said the suspect could only be charged with misdemeanor trespassing and animal cruelty, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

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