PETA seeks justice for animal rape

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 6, 2006

He was caught in one of the worst situations ever and today, Sweet Water resident Henry Lewis will enter a plea docket to plead guilty, or not guilty, to the lude and offensive acts he committed to bring about cruelty to animals charges.

Last month, a horse owner caught Lewis having sexual intercourse with her six-week-old pony. Days after witnessing the horrid act, the pony was found dead.

But since there are no laws pertaining to bestiality in the state of Alabama, district attorney Greg Griggers said, Lewis faces cruelty to animal charges.

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“If he decides to plead guilty, there will be a resolution, but I don’t know what Judge Drinkard will decide,” Griggers said. “If he doesn’t plead guilty it will go on to the trial docket next month. Either he pleads guilty (today) and get it over with, or he has to sit in the courthouse and have people discuss him having sex with a horse.”

But facing a trial and spending what could be months in the courtroom isn’t enough for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, or PETA.

“Studies show that offenders who commit bestiality often go on to commit sex crimes against humans,” says PETA Cruelty Caseworker Stephanie Bell. “The community should follow this case closely, because anyone capable of this kind of cruelty poses a definitive risk to the entire community.”

Thus, in order to strongly suggest that Lewis receive psychological attention if convicted, Bell recently wrote the following letter to Griggers:

Dear Mr. Griggers:

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is the world’s largest animal rights organization, with more than a million members and supporters dedicated to animal protection. This letter concerns a cruelty-to-animals case that your office is handling, involving Henry T. Lewis of Sweet Water. Lewis faces charges stemming from his alleged rape of a 6-week-old pony in Marengo County in early May. We understand that at least two witnesses reportedly saw Lewis penetrate the animal. The pony was found dead several days later by her guardian.

We understand that Lewis is scheduled to answer to these charges in court (today), June 6, at 9 a.m.

Mental health professionals and top law enforcement officials consider cruelty to animals, including zoophilia, to be a red flag. The American Psychiatric Association identifies all forms of animal abuse as diagnostic criteria for conduct disorders, and the FBI uses reports of animal abuse in analyzing the threat potential of suspected and known criminals. A recent study by Jory, Flemming, and Burton shows that 96 percent of offenders who had engaged in bestiality also admitted to sexual assaults on humans. Experts agree that it is the severity of the behavior-not the species of the victim-that matters (see enclosure).

We ask that, if convicted and in addition to a period of incarceration, Lewis be required to undergo a thorough psychological evaluation followed by mandatory counseling at his own expense-the safety of the community may depend on it. Because repeat crimes among animal abusers are the rule rather than the exception-and this is especially true of so-called zoophiles-we implore you to take every measure necessary to ensure that the convicted is barred for life from all contact with animals and that any animals currently in his custody are immediately seized.

Thank you for your diligence in this matter and for your time and consideration.


Stephanie Bell, Cruelty Caseworker

Domestic Animal and Wildlife Rescue&Information Department

“This is just an iffy case because in order to prove cruelty against animals, they would have to prove the animal sustained serious injuries or died because of Lewis’ sexual acts,” Griggers said. “I do agree with PETA that others sexual acts sometimes stem from this type of incidence, but if he pleads not guilty and they can’t prove to me that the horse died because of intercourse, then the case will probably be dismissed.”

PETA is also asking that any animals currently in Lewis’ possession be taken away and that the courts to prohibit Lewis from having animals in his custody for any amount of time.