Wyoming is one of only four states nationwide with no laws regarding sexual assault of animals, but that may be soon changing.

Sen. R.J. Kost (R-Powell) has co-sponsored House Bill 46, legislation that would establish laws and penalties addressing acts of human sexual intercourse with animals.

“I’m a little uncomfortable talking about it,” said Kost, a horse owner. “But sometimes you have to make a law.”

The push for this law comes partly in response to a 2020 Sweetwater County case involving a man trespassing on private property and engaging in sexual acts with horses. Because there was no law on the books to specifically address this, Sweetwater County sheriff deputies let the man off with no charges.

Bestiality used to be an illegal act in Wyoming when it was addressed in the old sodomy statutes but was not included when sodomy was moved into a sexual assault classification, Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Mower said in a Cheyenne Post story.

“I’m all for making it a crime,” said Rep. Sandy Newsome (R-Cody).

Although Newsome said she does not favor making more laws simply for the sake of making more laws, she does support it when society as a whole recognizes something that needs to be considered a crime.

“People often don’t see a need for a law and then it somehow comes up they do see a need,” she said.

Kost doesn’t foresee there will be any objections or unconstitutional elements to the bill that would go into effect July 1.

The only objections that may come are regarding the terms of punishment being seen as too lenient.

If passed in Wyoming, crimes of bestiality would bring a misdemeanor charge carrying up to one year in prison and $1,000 in fines. In Louisiana offenders can receive up to 10 years in prison for the crime.

“I’m not looking at it that way,” Kost said. “More than anything else this bill is to be able to have a statute on the books that allows police when some unforeseen citation is needed that deals with the situation.

“A year in prison can be issued. That leaves the flexibility for the judge to make decisions on it.”

Currently as written, the bill is only one page long and leaves “range to work from,” Kost said. The bill will not apply to or prohibit any practices involved with animal husbandry, artificial insemination or veterinary medicine.

HB 46 has been received for introduction will be heard in the House of Representatives in March.

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