Gov. Brian Sandoval, R-Nev., signed a measure into law that explicitly bans human sexual activity with animals, which isn’t covered under existing law.

The bill, A.B. 391 defines, prohibits and sets penalties for the sexual abuse of animals. Sponsored by Assemblyman Richard Carrillo, D-Las Vegas, the legislation was approved unanimously in both houses.

Heather Carpenter, Western regional director for The Humane Society of the United States and a Las Vegas resident, said: “We thank Assemblyman Carrillo and the members of the legislature for their unwavering efforts to strengthen Nevada’s animal protection laws. We know that sexual abuse of animals is an indicator of other violent, predatory sex crimes and applaud the signing of this bill into law.”

Forty two states have passed laws prohibiting sexual abuse of animals and 21 states consider bestiality to be a felony-level offense, including Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Mississippi and South Carolina. Bestiality remains legal in the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Kentucky, New Mexico, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming. Bills to ban it are pending in Texas and Vermont.

Gina Greisen, president of Nevada Voters for Animals and a Las Vegas resident, initiated the legislation through Assemblyman Carrillo’s office and worked with the HSUS on passage of the bill.

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