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Florida Senate passes bill addressing sex, porn with animals

By AP | Apr 2, 2021

TALLAHASSEE (AP) — Recognizing the link between animal abuse and child abuse, the Florida Senate unanimously passed a bill Thursday that would increase penalties for bestiality and create a new law banning pornography depicting people having sex with animals.

The bill would also require child protective investigators to report suspected cases of animal abuse and to be trained on how to recognize it. Animal control officers would also need to immediately report suspected child abuse or neglect and would be trained to recognize it.

Democratic Sen. Lauren Book told her colleagues that after she filed the bill, a criminal case near her South Florida district was an example of why the legislation is needed.

“Last month in Aventura a veterinarian was arrested and charged with possession of child pornography and the sexual abuse of animals in his care,” Book said, adding the man is also suspected of abusing boys. “This shocking case reinforces the fact that sexual abuse of animals is the number one predictor for the sexual abuse of children.”

Bestiality would be increased from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. Possession of pornography involving animals would also be a third-degree felony.

Anyone convicted of either offense could be banned for up to five years from owning, possessing or exercising control over an animal and wouldn’t be allowed to live in a home where an animal also lives. They would also be prohibited from being employed in a job or volunteering at a place where animals are present.