Bestiality Offences, Penalties and the Law in NSW

Sahar Adatia.

 

A warning to our readers: This news story contains graphic content.

A South Australian man accused of bestiality offences after he sent videos of his family dogs licking his erect penis has revealed at his court hearing that he did so because he was “bored”.

Ashley Scott Dennis, 30, appeared at the Adelaide Magistrates Court on Thursday 20 May 2021 for sentencing following his offence last year after previously pleading guilty to one count of bestiality.

During his hearing, the court was told the details of the man’s video, which included Mr Dennis filming two segments that showed his family’s two border collies licking his genitalia and that footage being sent via Snapchat to a female he was pursuing last year.

It so turned out that Mr Dennis was arrested by police for unrelated charges at the beginning of 2020 on January 8 when officers worked out that he had been in contact with the woman using the social media application.

This led to the officers discovering the footage of the dogs licking his genitalia, as well as 147 other images depicting bestiality, animal sex toys and selfies masturbating on his mobile phone.

Upon close inspection, it was found the footage had been captured in a work office setting that was constructed in a shed at the property of Mr Dennis’ parents in Armagh in the Adelaide’s Mid-North.

It was here that officers also discovered an opened jar of peanut butter.

 

Magistrate Denounces Man’s “Boredom” Behaviour and Intentionally Used Condiment to Entice Dogs to Lick His Genitalia

During Mr Dennis’ sentencing, Chief Magistrate Mary-Louise Hribal stated the man purposefully used the condiment to lure in the animals to lick his penis.

“You admitted to having a dog lick your penis on one occasion around 12 to 18 months prior (to being arrested) and said that was because you were bored,” Chief Magistrate Hribal said.

“Many people experience boredom at some time. Very few engage in this type of behaviour.

“When asked about the other images of bestiality that were on your phone, you said you just downloaded them to look but denied that those images aroused you.”

Responding to this, his defence lawyer argued that Mr Dennis suffered from an array of mental health issues, including social isolation, low self-worth and an intellectual disability.

He explained the man thus had not experienced any “meaningful relationships with the opposite sex”, and on numerous occasions, had even attempted to end his own life.

In addition, while it was acknowledged that the sexually explicit photographs that had been shared between the woman and the man were for money, he argued the offending did not inflict any cruelty to the dogs and was committed in privacy.

As Chief Magistrate Hribal heard the matter and went to hand down a sentence, his defence team then appealed to her to issue a bond that permitted Mr Dennis to participate in rehabilitation programs advised by a mental health professional, citing a psychological report that was prepared for the offender after examination.

“His low IQ, coupled with impulse control would adequately explain in context the social isolation (and) why this offence arose,” his defence lawyer submitted.

He continued that the videos were “designed to get this woman’s attention, which it appears it certainly did”.

“But, those circumstances of isolation, an intellectual disability mean my client’s unfortunately taken a unique approach in his attempt at courtship with this young lady,” the defence lawyer concluded.

Nevertheless, this was dismissed by the prosecution, who argued that a jail term was suitable for the offence Mr Dennis committed.

“Whilst there is no apparent harm to the animals concerned, the seriousness of this offence is that the conduct is morally abhorrent to society’s standards,” Lucy Hurley for the prosecution said.

Ms Hurley emphasised the point that bestiality offences occur against animals who are “silent victims” and often detection of such offences is difficult.

Ultimately, Chief Magistrate Hribal sentenced Mr Dennis to five months and two days imprisonment, taking into account that he had entered an early guilty plea.

She then suspended the sentence to a three-year $1000 good behaviour bond.

“The conduct you engaged in was entirely inappropriate,” Chief Magistrate Hribal said in handing down the sentence.

“It must be strongly discouraged, and I must discourage you from embarking on any further conduct of this type.”

Mr Dennis is now under bail conditions that mean he will be supervised by community corrections officers for two years.

In addition to this, he was requested to undergo assessment to determine if he is suitable to attend the sexual offender treatment program, and if so, must undertake it.

Bestiality Offences, Penalties and the Law

Bestiality – also termed zoophilia – refers to sexual activities carried out with non-human animals, and typically involves persistent intense sexual fantasies and urges with non-human animals.

Under the law, bestiality is understood as the act of sexually penetrating an animal, and it is against the law.

This offence carries up to 14-years imprisonment, under section 79 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

Similarly, according to section 80 of the same Act, a person is not permitted to even attempt to commit an act of bestiality with any animal. An attempt to commit bestiality carries up to 5-years imprisonment.

Questions on the law? speak to an experienced criminal lawyer Parramatta based today.

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