MADISON, Wis. (WBAY) - A bill to make a sexual act with an animal a felony passed the state Assembly on Thursday and is headed to the Senate.
The bill's author, Rep. Andre Jacque (R-De Pere), says it passed the Assembly unanimously on a voice vote.
Jacque created Assembly Bill 666 after learning about serial horse molester Sterling Rachwal, who could only be charged with misdemeanors for molesting animals in Brown and Manitowoc counties despite a history of abuse going back 20 years.
The bill would close loopholes in animal abuse laws and increase penalties for repeat offenses, and prohibit them from owning or working with animals. They would have to surrender any animals they own.
Animal abusers would also be prohibited from state licensed programs involving children, such as operating a day care or being a foster parent. Jacque says studies show sexual abuse of animals is the leading predictive behavior of someone who will sexually abuse a child.
The Assembly Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee didn't hear any opposition to the bill at a hearing in January.