A Virginia man convicted of performing sex acts on his dogs will spend the next twenty months in prison, though he will be able to leave to go to work.
Stephen Taylor, 31, was convicted on Wednesday before Henrico Circuit Court Judge James Stephen Yoffy. The judge declared “these acts were really despicable acts, absolutely despicable,” the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports. Though Yoffy’s decision allows Taylor to leave during work hours to go to his job, he is prohibited from owning any animals. In court, Taylor said “I really regret what I’ve done” and stated that he was “going down a very wrong path.”
Taylor was convicted in August on two counts of animal cruelty — a felony charge and a misdemeanor charge. He entered an Alford plea, which keeps him from legally admitting guilt but recognizes that the evidence against him is sufficient for a conviction. Prosecuting Attorney Nael Abouzaki said that Taylor had 171 images of bestiality, ten of which showed him performing oral sex on a Rottweiler. At that time, the defendant had eight Rottweilers and admitted to police that he performed oral sex on his dogs, per the Times-Dispatch.
Initially, the defendant pushed back on the allegations, calling the charges “lies” and saying that the person in the photographs wasn’t him, but he changed his tune when he appeared before Yoffy on Wednesday.
Taylor’s crimes came to light after police searched his home on a warrant. Initially, they were after his roommate who was arrested on allegations that he raped a 9-year-old boy in 2010. Abouzaki said in court that two of the animals were put down. His roommate, Craig Cox was picked up in part of an ongoing investigation into a child sex ring, he was charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, sexual exploitation of children and rape of a child. He also admitted to police that he knew Taylor was having sex with the dogs. One dog on the property had an infection in its penis and rectum, WTVR reports.
Yoffy also oversaw the earlier hearing and told the defendant “I just don’t have any words. This is disgusting.” He released Taylor on bond on the condition that he not have contact with animals and ordered him to undergo a psychosexual evaluation. And the defendant got off rather lightly–he could have served a maximum of six years in prison.
While Taylor’s case is definitely one of the more disturbing we’ve seen, there are plenty of disgusting cases of people having sex with their dogs; in September a 17-year-old boy in Ohio was brought up on bestiality charges for having sex with the family’s dog — apparently, his crimes were a repeated issue. A couple in New York was caught on camera performing lewd acts with their dog and their bad decision will lead to them having register as sex offenders.
Though the bestiality charges differ in each state, crimes relating to that level of animal cruelty are almost always categorized as felonies.