Monday, March 16, 2009

Baaad Love

Carl Hiaasen comments on the recent legislative measures in Florida, including attempts to curtail the love that dare not bleat its name.

Last week, our state Senate boldly took the first step toward making it illegal for a person to have intimate relations with an animal.

Although such a law might thin the dating pool in certain counties, it should ultimately serve to protect household pets and domestic livestock, which evidently are at far greater risk than most of us had imagined.

The cry for justice first arose from the small Panhandle community of Mossy Head, where in 2006 a 48-year-old man was suspected of abducting a neighbor family’s pet goat and accidentally strangling it with its collar during a sex act.

I wish I were making this up, but the story is true. The poor goat’s name was Meg.

After outraged citizens demanded that the suspect be arrested and locked up, local authorities were alarmed to discover that Florida was one of only 16 states that had no laws against bestiality.

While our moldy statute books still prohibit ”unnatural and lascivious acts” between consenting adults, there’s apparently nothing you cannot do with a four-legged partner.

More unwanted publicity came to Mossy Head when a local entrepreneur began selling T-shirts that said, ”Baaa Means No!” Residents demanded that the suspected goat rapist be charged at least with animal cruelty, but DNA samples collected from the crime scene proved inconclusive.

Shortly after the fatal encounter with Meg, the same man was arrested while trying to sneak off with another goat. This time he was sentenced to 364 days for theft.

As someone noted, it’s currently illegal in Florida for gays or lesbians to adopt children, but you can commit indecent conduct with barnyard creatures and the most you can be charged with is disturbing the peace.

And then there’s the state senator from Miami who thinks that “animal husbandry” includes a ring and a trip to Niagara Falls.

If this does not point out why the Florida legislature is endangering the state by cutting funding to education, nothing does. Think of the kids… not to mention the children.