Shelby bestiality case prompts legislative action
June 17, 2011
Mansfield News Journal
SHELBY -- News of a bestiality case was enough to prompt state Rep. Jay Goyal to take immediate action.
"A couple days ago I got a phone call from Jack Donaldson from the (Richland County) Humane Society about this incident, and we've already got some legislation in the works," Goyal said Thursday.
On May 18, Peter Bower, 31, of Shelby, was charged with two counts of animal cruelty after authorities discovered an extensive history of sexual activity with his 3-year-old shepherd mix.
Thirty states have laws prohibiting bestiality, distinct from other forms of animal cruelty. Ohio is not one of them.
"Right now, we're in the process of doing some research and drafting the legislation. We're taking a look at what other states have done and then going from there," Goyal said. "This is the first time I've ever encountered anything of this nature. But this legislation needs to be done to prevent horrendous crimes like this from taking place."
State Sen. Kris Jordan said he, too, had never encountered such a case.
"I can't ever recall any legislation coming up where we've dealt with it," he said. "It's pretty obscure and repulsive, and I think people just never imagined something like this taking place."
According to a search warrant, on May 19, authorities confiscated numerous items from the Shelby man's apartment, including books on bestiality, a plastic blow-up sheep, photos of the man with animals, sex toys, several cameras, film and computers.
Richland County Dog Warden Dave Jordan also took the man's dog. A veterinarian said the shepherd mix had vaginal bruising.
A search of the man's Internet activity displayed an extensive list of photos and stories from his sexual encounters with three dogs and a horse. He also acknowledged interest in other animals, including ewes and sows.
"I'll try anything once!" he claimed.
The man's personal stories expressed his deep love for animals -- which didn't surprise a neighbor at his complex.
Rosario DeLeon, 41, said after the man adopted the shepherd mix from the Richland County Dog Shelter on May 7, he posted a "Just Married" sign in the back window of his vehicle.
The back bumper of the vehicle is still lined with "I love my German Shepherd" stickers.
"Whenever I'd be outside with my dog, he'd always come out with treats for her, and he always asked if he could walk her -- but she was ready to bite his hand off," DeLeon said. "She wanted nothing to do with him. I told him no, and then he offered to train her. He said he could post her progress on the Internet and said people would post comments and suggestions about how to train her, and I thought that was so weird. I told him I couldn't afford that, and he said he'd do it all for free."
She said once she tried to sell him a male shih tzu she had been sitting for, whose owner never returned for him.
"He told me he was only interested in female dogs," DeLeon said.
DeLeon said neighbors watched as authorities removed item after item May 19. When they discovered why, DeLeon said she was glad she trusted her instinct.
"He is a sick man and ought to be locked up. I can't believe there is no law that prohibits bestiality," she said. "He walks around here now like it's no big deal."
Jordan said the man had advertised dog walking and sitting services around Shelby and at the Mansfield dog shelter.
"I had a lady who called me today in tears because she had used his dog walking services before and said her dog had been acting funny afterward, and now she doesn't know what to do," Jordan said Thursday after the News Journal broke the story.
Online, the suspect mentions another man who helped photograph his sexual encounters, Jordan said, but so far, authorities are only investigating the one man.
The man's attorney, Gordon Eyster, did not return messages from the News Journal.