Florida Woman Who Filmed Herself Having Sex With Dogs

State Bestiality Laws Sweep Nation in 2000s and 2010s

Close-Up Of Statue (law balance)
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Caroline Willette allegedly admitted to videotaping herself having sex with two dogs and possessing child porn. in 2009, the 53-year-old Floridian faced a slew of charges, but bestiality, the act of having sex with animals, wasn't one of them. At that time, she was convicted of possessing child pornography and was entered into the registered sex offender database.

If she had been convicted anytime after October 2011, she would have also faced bestiality charges in Florida when it became illegal. Bestiality is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum fine of 1 year and/or a fine of $1,000 there.

Since the 2000s and 2010s, state bestiality laws were passed or were strengthened, for example, misdemeanors became felonies. As of 2017, bestiality is illegal in 45 U.S. states. Hawaii, Kentucky, New Mexico, West Virginia and Wyoming, as well as the District of Columbia, are the only states that do not have laws addressing this conduct.

Federal Laws

Bestiality is considered a state matter. Federal obscenity codes bar animal porn. And, the only relevant federal law is the sodomy law under the military code. This law states that “[a]ny person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with . . . an animal is guilty of sodomy.” The penalty is derived through court-martial and only applies to military personnel. 

Florida's Ban on Bestiality

Willette did not face charges of having sex with dogs in 2009 since Florida had been one of 16 states that did not specifically ban bestiality at that time. State animal cruelty laws had seemed to cover the matter by essentially banning man-on-critter sex, but tougher legislation became necessary.

The Humane Society of the United States is one of the leading American organizations to criminalize bestiality in the United States. The organization and other animal rights supporters have been succeeding in the U.S. and around the world, where bestiality is being banned more and more. Most American bestiality laws were enacted between 1999 and 2017.

At the time that the Willette case was in the headlines, there was a public outcry for stricter regulations in Florida.

"There's a tremendous correlation between sexually deviant behavior and crimes against children and crimes against animals. "This is long overdue. These are heinous crimes. And people belong in jail."—Nan Rich, former Florida state senator.

Other Florida Bestiality Cases

Many Floridians were surprised it took so long to criminalize bestiality. In 2005, a Tallahassee man was accused of sexually abusing a seeing-eye dog. Alan Yoder, 29, originally charged with felony animal cruelty, had his charges amended to a lessened charge of disorderly conduct. He was found in "breach of the peace, by engaging in sexual activity with a guide dog," according to a court document.

Another story, a man from Mossy Head, Florida, in the Panhandle area of Florida, allegedly raped and asphyxiated a family goat. The incident became such a circus, T-shirts began appearing with slogans like "Baa Means No!"

In 2004, an Ocala resident Randol Mitchell pleaded no contest to felony animal cruelty after being charged with having sex with his then-fiancee's female rottweiler. A judge withheld adjudication and ordered five years of probation and a psychological evaluation. He also prohibited the 27-year-old man from "owning pets of any kind while on probation and from having unsupervised contact with other people's pets."