Bestiality now punishable in Amarillo, potentially statewide

Bestiality now punishable in Amarillo, potentially statewide

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - Bestiality is now prohibited in Amarillo.

A city ordinance was passed on its second and final reading at Tuesday evening's Amarillo City Council meeting, making bestiality a Class C Misdemeanor inside city limits.

That's the highest fine Amarillo Animal Management & Welfare can cite.

In the two years director Richard Havens has overseen the department, he's seen around a dozen cases of animals coming to the shelter showing signs of sexual abuse.

"It absolutely impacts animals at a psychological level, just like it does people," he said. "They're often reserved, scared, and can be aggressive."

Since bestiality is not a punishable offense in the state, offenders previously could not be charged, even if there was video proof, which in many cases, there was.

But now with that evidence, abusers can be fined.

"It'll be a Class C Misdemeanor and that'll go on their record," said Havens. "So if they want to apply for a job they're going to have to explain that to a future employer why they have a conviction of bestiality."

Amarillo is only the second city in Texas, along with Lubbock, to make bestiality a crime in city limits.

Animal Management & Welfare's success here could help make bestiality illegal across the state.

Proposed Texas House Bill 1087 would make bestiality a felony statewide.

Havens is doing his part to make that a reality.

"We went before the Texas House of Representatives to testify on behalf of rural communities that these issues do exist in our communities," he said.

On Monday this proposed bill was reported favorably without amendments by the House committee.

The changes to Amarillo's bestiality ordinance will go into effect in April.

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