Through the twisted legal logic that often accompanies strange cases, 44-year-old Terry Wayne Davis has been declared “not sexually dangerous” by an Illinois court-appointed psychologist and is therefore considered fit to stand trial. If he were found sexually dangerous, he would not be fit to stand trial, would be eligible for psychological treatment and could only be tried in a civil proceeding. On the other hand, if he were sexually dangerous, he could be held in a civil commitment until psychiatrists or psychologists deemed him no longer dangerous.
The charge: Three counts of sexual misconduct with a neighbor’s five-month-old female Rottweiler puppy.
The court needs to hear from one more psychologist before making a final ruling on Mr. Davis’s sexual dangerousness. We don’t know him and therefore don’t presume to evaluate him, but there are several issues of which those who are tasked with that evaluation should be mindful.
And by the way: having sex with a dog is not funny.
Believe it or not, cases like this come up with some frequency in law enforcement circles, and the police often laugh them off. “Yeah, but was she good-looking?” is a frequent refrain when cops get together to talk about them. They are often classified as “nuisance offenses.”
But bestiality, as it is commonly known, generally has some very serious implications if you bother to search beyond the obvious.
One case that was brought to the FBI’s Investigative Support Unit in Quantico involved a police officer cruising a dark “lovers’ lane” one night just outside the city. He came across a young man and woman “enjoying” each other in the back seat of their parked car. He shined his flashlight through the window, scaring the bejeezus out of the necking couple. “Hey, you kids! Knock it off!” he demanded.
The boy and girl were indignant at the interruption. “We’re not hurting anyone,” the boy answered back. “Instead of bothering us, you should go after the guy down the road. He’s having sex with a chicken!”
The young people gave the cop a description of the car and he went to check it out. Sure enough, down the road he came upon the car in question, and sure enough, the guy was having sex with a chicken. Not only that, he was videotaping it! We can omit the specific anatomical details.
Now, if the officer had left the situation at that, possibly cited the guy for loitering or even indecent exposure and simple had a great story for the station house, the case would have ended there and everyone would have had a good laugh. But the police decided to check this guy out, and the video camera gave them probably cause. They obtained a search warrant for his house and came upon a cache of videos. In them, he is surrounded by the dead and decomposing carcasses of animals with whom he has copulated. Meanwhile, he is describing violent and sadistic sexual acts he wants to perform – not on animals, but women.
So was this chicken-screwer “sexually dangerous”? Were these videos a predictor of future violence? You bet your life.
The most important single investigative consideration of any case of human sex with animals is that it is the equivalent of rape or child abuse. And again, we are not being funny. What we mean is that this is sexual abuse perpetrated on a defenseless creature. We have seen cases of sexual abuse of dogs, cats, chickens and horses. We have never seen a case of sexual abuse of panther, mountain lion or wolf. Why? Because those animals have a “choice” in the matter and don’t have to put up with it.
Getting back to Mr. Davis in Illinois, it was not even a full-grown Rottweiler he allegedly abused; it was a puppy named Lucy. The neighbor came home to find Davis allegedly lying on a sofa and having sex with the dog. And there is an additional fact we learned about him: Davis is already listed on the Illinois Sex Offender Registry for sexual assault on a 16-year-old girl in 2003.
That should be the Bingo! moment for any investigator. We’d want to know exactly what he did to her and exactly what he said while he was doing it. We’d want to know if he has talked about the incident to any authority since then and what his attitude and affect were.
Oh, and one more thing: The puppy started displaying marked aggressive behavior after the abuse and ultimately had to be euthanized. What does that tell you?