Update: Feb. 17, 2020, 1:33 p.m.
The charges in this case were dismissed Jan. 24, according to online court records.
Original story: May 3, 2019 (Editor's note: The suspect's name has been removed due to the dismissal of the case.)
A Maryland man is facing a felony charge for the attempted carnal knowledge of an animal after allegedly soliciting an undercover Loudoun County Animal Services officer in Leesburg for the opportunity to have sexual relations with a horse, according to Loudoun County authorities.
Animal control officials say on Thursday an investigation by LCAS resulted in Leesburg Police Department officers arresting the suspect at Balls Bluff Park, where undercover animal services officers met the suspect. Authorities say he intended to engage in the illegal activity.
“Loudoun County has zero tolerance for criminal acts that include cruel and heinous behavior towards animals,” LCAS Chief of Animal Control Chris Brosan said in a prepared statement. “We routinely conduct investigations to protect all animals in Loudoun.”
Following his arrest, the Maryland man was released on a $2,500 bond and is prohibited from contact with animals of all species pending a court appearance. An arraignment is scheduled for Monday at Loudoun County General District Court.
“We recognize that proactive investigations are one of the best ways to ensure the community is safe,” Department of Animal Services Director Nina Stively said in a statement. “We do not want to wait for crimes against animals to happen, we want to prevent them.”
Under the Code of Virginia, crimes against nature involving animals are a Class 6 felony, which carry a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a $2,500 fine, according to LCAS. Earlier this year, the Virginia Court of Appeals upheld the commonwealth’s ban on bestiality through the crimes against nature statute, recognizing that animals are not able to provide consent.