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PR Animals Suffer when Caught in Family Fight

Humane Society of Southern Arizona



Animal Cruelty Taskforce of Southern Arizona Recognizes
National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

For Release On:
October 15, 2001
Page 1 of 2

Contact information regarding this public awareness campaign:
Marsh Myers or Jami McDowell, Humane Society of Southern Arizona: (520) 321-3704, Ext. 125 or 141

Regarding law enforcement and prosecution information:
Det. Mike Duffey, Pima County Sheriff’s Department: (520) 741-4751
Laura Brynwood or Pat Mehrhoff, City of Tucson Attorney’s Office: 791-5492, Ext. 1510 or 1515
Kathleen Mayer or Brad Roach, Pima County Attorneys Office: (520) 740-5671 or 740-5664

Regarding domestic violence issues:
Rebecca Edmonds, Governor’s Commission on Domestic Violence: (520) 906-9961
Mike Lent, DVM, Southern Arizona Veterinary Medical Association: (520) 885-3594

Tucson- In Pima County, Fred Beasley was the first criminal convicted under Arizona’s new animal cruelty felony law. His case has been described as a “textbook example” of how a domestic squabble can mean torture or even death for the family pets.

“Beasley was mad at his girlfriend,” stated Det. Mike Duffey with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department and a member of the Animal Cruelty Taskforce (ACT). “When his girlfriend got in her car and drove away, Beasley focused his rage on her dog, a female Chow-chow named Phoenix. He slashed the animal’s throat with a knife and threw her body in the bed of his pickup truck.”

The dog survived the attack and Beasley is currently serving a three-year sentence in a state penitentiary for his act of domestic violence turned animal cruelty.

“At the sheriff’s department, we call these ‘crimes of righteous indignation,’” said Duffey. “These scenarios are simple in design. I’m mad at you because I feel you did something to me. I retaliate by hurting something you love – your dog, cat, bird, goat, whatever – which makes me feel better and makes you feel worse. It’s a simple power-play where the victims are just vulnerable animals in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Sometimes, the attacks on animals can be sexual in nature. A 1989 New Jersey study found that 46% of all battered women reported that their attacker sexually assaulted the family pets. Sometimes, the human victims will be forced into sexual activities with animals as part of a larger campaign to degrade and humiliate them. This type of domestic violence is one of the least reported, due to the high level of shame felt by the victims.

“I’ve had five cases of sexual assault on animals cross my desk in the last two years,” said Duffey, “but I know there’s more out there. This is a topic so repulsive that only now are we beginning to understand how dangerous it is. Prior to this, everyone would probably have made a lot of jokes and tried to forget about it.”

One of ACT’s main goals is to include local veterinarians in the domestic violence intervention and reporting process. Although animals are frequently the first victims of domestic violence, they are also statistically the first to receive medical care for their injuries.

“Veterinarians enjoy a certain non-threatening image,” said Mike Lent, DVM, with the Pantano Animal Clinic and the Southern Arizona Veterinary Medical Association. “A batterer may allow the dog’s broken leg to be treated because he believes there is a low risk to his crimes being identified by a vet. As a result, vets are in an excellent place to provide assistance to not only the animal, but to all the victims in the family.”

Dr. Lent was instrumental in pushing the passage of ARS 32-2239, a mandatory reporting law for veterinarians who suspect one of their clients is the victim of abuse. ARS 32-2239 requires vets to report their suspicions to the authorities and protects them from lawsuits if their suspicions prove wrong. Lent said the law is based on the mandatory reporting standards created for medical doctors where child abuse is concerned.

Additional information on ACT’s campaign is available by contacting the Humane Society at 321-3704, Ext. 125 or 141 or visiting the ACT website at



  • Bestiality is the sexual molestation of an animal by a human. This can include a variety of behaviors, including vaginal, anal, or oral penetration; fondling; oral-genital contact; penetration using an object; and killing or injuring an animal for sexual gratification. Animal sexual abuse, like rape, is the eroticization of violence, control and exploitation.

  • Zoophilia, defined as a sexual fixation on animals by human beings. The number of true zoophiles is probably very low. Most people who sexually assault animals are not sexually attracted to the animal-victim. A similar distinction can be made between child molesters (people who sexually assault children) and pedophiles (people who have a sexual fixation on children).
  • Hard statistics on zoophilia are difficult to obtain, but estimates have placed the percentage of males who sexually abuse animals as high as 65%. Attempts by law enforcements and psychiatrists to ascertain information about sexual assault on animals from professional criminals have been mostly unsuccessful. Most criminals will hide or deny any such contact, similar to their reactions when asked about child molestation.

TRUE ZOOPHILIA: The individual has an impulsive sexual desire for animals. They may seek out jobs that bring them into contact with animals, in the same way pedophiles will seek out jobs that allow them to interact with children.

COMMODIFICATION: Bestial acts performed and packaged as pornography for sale within a mass market.

ADOLESCENT EXPERIMENTATION (OPPORTUNISTIC): Often used by teens and young adults as “safety-valve sex” or as “safe-sex alternatives.” Motivations range from boredom, insecurity, curiosity or as a substitute for a human partner.

AGGRAVATED CRUELTY (SADISTIC): Forced sexual contact with animals used in a campaign of torture or humiliation, as in a domestic violence situation. This type of bestiality may be carried out by batterers, rapists and pornographers. The goal is to achieve sexual gratification by inflicting pain and suffering on the victim.VIOLENCE SITUATIONS:


  • Although limited, the research on bestiality shows some patterns that are consistent with the other forms of interpersonal violence within the home. Bestiality as aggravated cruelty is defined as “a level of cruelty over and above that already presented in most such acts.”

  • Bestiality as aggravated cruelty is intended to satisfy the rapist’s sexual appetites by the infliction of profound pain and suffering on the animal or another human being.

  • The most common form of bestial behavior in the home is that of the batterer assaulting the family pets as a means of further punishing the human victims in the home.

  • Studies in 1979 and 1992 showed a definite trend in which women were forced to perform acts of bestiality by their abusive husbands or boyfriends. Similar results were found in same-sex relationships and were consistent throughout other cultures.

  • Bestiality was one of the most common forms of “unusual sex” described by women in domestic violence situations. 41% of women with battering partners described sexual acts with animals.

  • According to FBI studies, 40% of the perpetrators of sexually motivated homicides who had been sexually abused as children also reported that they had sexually abused animals.


  • Recent research indicates that zoophiles may have similar “world views” as pedophiles. Typically, both zoophiles and pedophiles do not recognize, and will not admit to harming the animal or child. Both will insist that their actions were loving, misunderstood or solicited by the victim.

  • The primary motivations behind assaulting animals are their accessibility and their inability to defend themselves. This is also consistent with the motivations behind child molestation.

  • Animals may be a “secondary choice” victim for the pedophile who does not have access to children.

  • Once caught, zoophiles and pedophiles may have similar courtroom defenses when it comes to their actions.

  • As with pedophilia, true zoophilia is thought to exist in less that 1% of the human population, and is therefore considered an abnormal behavior.


  • November, 1998 – Thonotosassa, Florida
    A 48-year old man was charged with operating a whips-and-chains sex dungeon in his home where customers could hire prostitutes or a dog. The man was formally charged with racketeering, prostitution, pornography offenses and animal cruelty. Investigators said some of the videotapes confiscated involved exotic animals such as eels, anteaters and water buffalo (San Francisco Examiner).

  • November 1998 – Hamilton, Montana
    An 83-year old man was charged with one count of sexual abuse of an 8-year old girl. He was also charged with one felony count of sexual abuse for allegedly having the same child watch him engage in real or simulated sexual contact with a dog for five to ten minutes (Ravalli Republic).

  • July 1998 – Janesville, Wisconsin
    Thirty-seven year old Barry Herbeck was convicted of five felony counts of animal cruelty for torturing and killing five cats. One cat was sodomized and died as a result of its injuries. Although initially charged with bestiality, the misdemeanor charge was dropped in a plea agreement. Herbeck had previous convictions for the sexual assault of a child, burglary, theft and battery (Journal Sentinel).

  • July 1998 – Victorville, California
    A 25-year old man was charged with allegedly stealing a horse from her corral and sexually assaulting her. The an admitted to the attack, which occurred just six months after he was convicted of having sex with another horse in the same area (Victor Valley Daily Press).

  • July 1998 – Manatee Co., Florida
    A man was sentenced to one year in prison after pleading no contest to charges of animals cruelty after having anal sex with a dog (Sarasota in Defense of Animals).

  • October 1998 – Stillwater, Oklahoma
    A 48-year old man pled guilty to possession of a homemade videotape showing a woman engaging in bestiality and performing other sex acts. Another commercially made videotape also included bestiality. The man was given a five-year prison term for possession of the homemade obscene videotape, a concurrent six-year prison term for possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute, and three concurrent one-year jail terms for possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving under suspension (Tulsa World).

  • February 1997 – El Cajon, California
    A 49-year old man was charged with breaking through a fence and stalking and assaulting a horse. The sheriff’s records show the man was arrested in the late 1980’s for a similar offense but not charged. Complaints began more than a decade ago when the San Diego Zoo’s longtime spokeswoman, Joan Embrey, first alerted authorities (Associated Press).

  • February 1995 – Uniontown, Pennsylvania
    A 68-year old man and his 32-year old wife accused of engaging in and videotaping sexual acts with dogs were charged with voluntary deviate sexual intercourse and conspiracy to commit the same. The woman admitted that the activities had occurred on a regular basis since 1988. (Tribune-Review).

  • August 1994 – St. John Township, Indiana
    A 23-year old man was sentenced to three years in prison after attempting to kidnap a German Shepherd. The man had a history of sexually abusing and killing animals. In 1991 he killed a rooster and a goose in separate incidents. The judge released him to get counseling. Instead, in 1992 he abducted and broke the neck of a neighbor’s dog. He served a short prison term, and less than a month after being paroled he was arrested for attempting to abduct another dog. He also reportedly had sex with neighbors’ chickens, thereby killing them. Deputy Prosecutor Natalie Bokota also turned up an incident in his background involving torturing the family cat in the microwave. She said, “He stalks animals, kills them and then has sex with them.” (Post-Tribune)

  • April 1994 – Kingsport, Tennessee
    A 26-year old man was charged with animal cruelty for allegedly sexually assaulting his dogs. The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department acknowledged having received similar complaints in the past that it had been unable to corroborate. An anonymous 911 call led a deputy sheriff to the man’s residence where he reportedly “heard a dog screaming in pain” and then saw the man “come outside pulling up his pants and zipping his zipper.” The local humane society took possession of seven dogs and three cats. An animal cruelty investigator said one of the puppies showed evidence of recent penetration. A veterinarian determined that all the dogs were sick and suffered from malnutrition (Kingsport Time-News).

  • July 1991 – New Bedford, Massachusetts
    An unknown assailant broke into a zoo and sexually assaulted a tame white-tailed deer and then beat the animal to death. The injuries included a fractured jaw and extensive bleeding from the rectum and vagina (The Standard-Times).

  • January 1989 – Jackson, Ohio
    A man admitted to having sex with his small female dog while his wife was running an errand. Upon her return, she discovered evidence of intercourse with the dog and called the authorities. The man also had a history of domestic violence. He was sentenced to thirty days in jail (Police Records).

Courtesy of

3450 N Kelvin Blvd
Tucson, Arizona 85716
Shelter Phone: (520) 327-6088

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