Sex with animals is legal in Canada...as long as there's no penetration - court declares

In a controversial case involving a man who sexually assaulted his stepdaughters and a dog, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Thursday, June 9 that sex with animals is legal as long as there's no penetration involved.

(REUTERS/CHRIS WATTIE)A view shows the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa February 6, 2015.

"Although bestiality was often subsumed in terms such as sodomy or buggery, penetration was the essence - 'the defining act,'" stated the court ruling.

The man, who was acquitted of bestiality, is identified only as "DLW" and is convicted of 13 counts of rape cases against his stepdaughters for which he is sentenced 16 years in prison. Court records reveal that while videotaping the act, DLW had the family dog lick off the peanut butter which he smeared on his stepdaughters' genitals. He also tried to make the dog have sex with a stepdaughter but failed.

Favoring the argument lodged by DLW's attorneys that Canada's bestiality code does not cover all sex acts with animals, the court voted a majority of 7-1.

"Acts with animals that have a sexual purpose are inherently exploitative whether or not penetration occurs," said the lone dissenter, Justice Rosalie Abella, in her dissenting opinion.

Abella added that the 1988 amendment on the bestiality law was all about prevention of sexual exploitations.

"As of today, Canadian law gives animal abusers license to use animals for their own sexual gratification," Camille Labchuk, executive director of Animal Justice told The Independent in an e-mailed statement.

"This is completely unacceptable, contrary to societal expectations, and cannot be allowed to continue," Labchuk continued. "This much-needed bill updates the animal offences in the Criminal Code and closes this dangerous loophole to make it crystal clear that all forms of sexual activity between a person and an animal are unacceptable."

Animal Justice and the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies are urging the Parliament to amend what they consider is an outdated bestiality law. Liberal MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith introduced the Bill C-246 "The Modernizing Animal Protections Act" offering to expand legislations around animal protection, according to CBC News. Although Erskine-Smith has cited a lukewarm support from his colleagues, the bill is set for another round of discussion in September.

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