West Virginia Considers Establishing Anti-Bestiality Law

West Virginia House Bill 2827 would create the felony offense of “sexual crimes against an animal” with penalties of 1 to 5 years in prison and fines of up to $10,000. The bill would require that anyone convicted of the crime to relinquish custody of all animals under the person’s control, obtain psychiatric or psychological counseling, and be prohibited from harboring animals or being present where animals are present for at least ten years. The bill contains exemptions for accepted veterinary procedures; “artificial insemination of an animal for reproductive purposes; [a]ccepted animal husbandry practices, including grooming, raising, breeding, or assisting with the birthing process”; generally accepted “practices related to the judging of breed conformation”; and “affection towards a pet such as petting, hugging, or kissing in a non-sexual manner.”