A Central Texas man was charged with bestiality after he was accused of having sex with a neighbor’s dog over the weekend.
Philip Samuel Mercon, 27, was arrested around 1:30 a.m. Saturday after a witness contacted officers and said he observed a man “sexually abusing a dog” in a neighbor’s backyard, said Bellmead Police Lt. Kory Martin.
Police found Mercon in the backyard with the dog. When he saw the officers, Mercon let go of the dog, stated Martin. Mercon released the animal, described as a mixed breed, medium-sized dog and then attempted to flee, according to the Waco Tribune-Herald. However, one of the dispatched officers captured the suspect without incident.
While on scene, officers returned the dog to its owner to ensure it received any care it required, said Martin. “At this time, there are no reports of injury to the dog,” he commented.
Martin also said that Mercon, apparently, was on the neighbor’s property when the incident occurred. He was not authorized to be in the yard behind the fencing.
Officers arrested Mercon on a charge of bestiality, a state jail felony. They also charged him with evading arrest on foot and for criminal trespass. Both are class A misdemeanors. Martin said they booked the suspect into the McLennan County Jail. Later, he was released on an $8,000 bond.
In 2017, Texas lawmakers passed Senate Bill 1232, which amended the state penal code to ban bestiality. The law, signed by Governor Greg Abbott, established sex acts with animals as a crime. It went into effect on September 1, 2017.
If convicted, an offender may receive up to two years in jail as well as an optional fine of up to $10,000, with repeat offenses carrying higher penalties, according to the bill analysis provided for SB 1232.
The law also established that if an animal becomes seriously injured or dies because of the sexual contact or if the sexual act takes place in the presence of a child younger than 18-years-old, the crime would become elevated to a second-degree felony and an offender could face additional prison time and stiffer fines.
Reportedly, this incident involving Mercon was one of the first known cases of bestiality in the state.
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