Central Delaware
UPDATED STORY: Milford couple arrested on bestiality charges

MILFORD — A Milford couple was arrested Tuesday after police investigated an alleged sexual act with a dog, court records said.

According to court documents, 24-year-old Samantha L. Golt is accused of engaging in sexual intercourse with a canine as her 25-year-old boyfriend James P. Crow took photographs during the alleged incident at their residence in the 1800 block of Blairs Pond Road.

The investigation began when a Delaware State Police trooper was contacted by a concerned citizen in reference to abuse of a canine on Dec. 28, papers said.

During the investigation, photographs taken by Mr. Crow were collected as evidence, court documents said.

Police said they compared a Delaware Justice Information System Web Portal photograph to the evidence photo and positively identified Ms. Golt as the female having sex with the dog.

Ms. Golt and Mr. Crow were each charged with one count of felony bestiality and felony second-degree conspiracy. The date of offense was listed in court papers as occurring between 8 a.m. on Aug. 31, 2012 and 1:12 a.m. on Dec. 29, 2012, records said.

The couple was arraigned via video phone at JP Court 2 in Rehoboth Beach and given $12,000 secured bonds. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Friday morning in the Kent County Court of Common Pleas in Dover.

A state police spokesman said Wednesday that the couple was issued a no-contact order with any animal during its initial court appearance on the charges. Police said that the Kent County SPCA was notified at the time of the investigation, and that no animals were removed before charges were filed this week.

Kent County SPCA spokesman Beth Butts said a bestiality charge is rare, and the shelter “feels like any level of animal abuse is absolutely abhorrent. Animals need to have protection the same as children do in that they are innocent and can’t defend themselves.”

Ms. Butts of the SPCA said that pets build up a level of trust with their owners and can be more vulnerable to abusive attacks.

“If you have a dog or any other pet that trusts you and you begin hitting or kicking it or committing any kind of abuse, they will not bring much of a defense because they’ve been under your protective, trusting care for a period of time,” Ms. Butts said. “They think you’re supposed to be supporting their needs, not abusing them, and don’t react like they should to an attack.”

According to Title 11, Section 775 of the Delaware Code, “A person is guilty of bestiality when the person intentionally engages in any sexual act involving sexual contact, penetration or intercourse with the genitalia of an animal or intentionally causes another person to engage in any such sexual act with an animal for purposes of sexual gratification.”

Bestiality is a class D felony under state law. Violent felony convictions come with a presumptive sentence of up to two years at Level 5 incarceration, and a statutory sentence of up to eight years. A person convicted of bestiality would be placed on the state’s sex offender registry, the Delaware Attorney General’s Office said.

In 1993, state lawmakers moved to make bestiality a crime. The legislation was sponsored by former Rep. William A. Oberle Jr., R-Beechers lot and was passed as House Bill 159.

According to the Michigan State University School of Law, having sex with animals was illegal in 37 states as of 2012; MSU said most of the individual anti-zoosexual (also known as bestiality) state laws were created between 1999 and 2012.

SPCA enforcement officer Maj. Brian Whipple said bestiality issues are rare, noting “In the last six years I’ve been here at the SPCA, there have been maybe a handful of reported cases, but nothing has ever been prosecuted. I’m sure it occasionally goes on somewhere but we just don’t hear much about it.”

Staff writer Craig Anderson can be reached at 741-8296, or DSNAnderson on Twitter.