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Governor signs bill to ban bestiality

PHOENIX — Gov. Janet Napolitano on Wednesday signed into law a bill to again make bestiality a crime in Arizona.

The new law replaces a repealed one against the “infamous crime against nature.” That law was repealed in 2001 but was previously amended to exclude sex with an animal.

A legislative staff memo said the only current state law related to bestiality is a public indecency statute that prohibits certain human contact with animals. That crime is a misdemeanor unless the presence of a minor makes it a felony.

The new law, which takes effect 90 days after the end of the current legislative session, will make sexual intercourse with an animal and specified other sex acts a felony.

The bill (SB1160) was proposed after the March arrest of a Mesa deputy fire chief, Leroy Johnson.

Johnson, 52 at the time of his arrest, was accused of alleged bestial acts with his next-door neighbor’s lamb. He was booked on misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct, trespassing and public sexual indecency. He filed for retirement from the fire department after his arrest.

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