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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Spin Control

Bestiality was legal in Washington until 2006

The criminal charges faced by Spokane bestiality suspect Travis Austin Joy, who authorities say videotaped himself having sex with animals, can be traced to a 2005 fatality involving an Enumclaw horse ranch.

Prior to that, nothing in state law specifically prohibited sex with animals.

In that 2005 case, Kenneth Pinyan was anonymously dropped off at an Enumclaw hospital, where he was found dead with a perforated colon. Authorities later determined that he'd been fatally injured while filming himself having sex with a stallion, and also learned that the farm was a popular destination for those drawn to bestiality.

But because investigators couldn't find any injuries to the horse, authorities struggled with finding suitable criminal charges under the state's animal cruelty statutes at the tiime that could be filed against anyone else associated with the fatality.

Lawmakers resolved that in the 2006 legislative session, amending animal cruelty laws to include bestiality.

David Wasson oversees coverage of politics and state and local government and assists with editing on the City Desk.

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