EL PASO, Texas (CBS4) — A small dog was allegedly sexually abused in El Paso, and a video of it was posted to Snapchat.
El Paso police tell CBS4 if this would have happened one year ago, the people involved might not have been in that much trouble. But thanks a new law, that is no longer the case.
"A lot of times, people don't take this (seriously). But it leads to bigger things. Hurting humans, it leads to hurting children, elderly,” said Detective Vanessa Acosta, from the El Paso Police Department Animal Cruelty Unit.
CBS4 received a horrific video of a small, white dog being sexually abused by two juveniles. We will not show the video on air or online, even blurred, because it is too disturbing. That video was posted on Snapchat and seen by thousands in El Paso. We took the video straight to police. On Tuesday, El Paso police confirmed a bestiality case is under investigation right now.
"It was July 28 of this year,” Acosta said.
"It is the one case that they have had enough evidence to push forward and investigate the case and present that. It's still an ongoing investigation, so we're very limited,” said Darrel Petry, with EPPD.
While police could not comment on this specific case any further, they did say that prior to Sept. 1 of 2017, there was no bestiality law.
"Now it's a state jail felony, which you could face up to two years in prison if you're convicted of this bestiality charge. And if convicted, you become a registered sex offender as well,” Acosta explained.
It does not matter that the people in the video are juveniles. They will face the same charges as an adult would, only in a different court system.
"The age of criminal responsibility in the state of Texas is 10,” Petry said.
So if the suspects are convicted, they could have to register as sex offenders. It is all up to the juvenile justice system now.
"I've seen cases like this in the past, and we weren't able to charge these people with it because the animal didn't have any type of physical harm, or beaten or tortured. At that time, they didn't take it seriously,” Acosta said. “Now, the state of Texas does see it as a serious crime."
Police tell CBS4 under this new law, if the bestiality crime is committed in the presence of someone under the age of 18, it becomes a third-degree felony.