Q&A with Jenny Edwards, criminologist and expert on zoophilia/zoosadism.
by Patch O'Furr
Content warning for animal abuse and sexual violence. Part 5 of a 5 part update about the Zoosadist chat leaks.
In September 2018, the furry fandom was shocked by news about zoosadists (people into rape, torture and murder of animals for their fetish). Part 1) looks at how their ring was exposed, the threat to events, and who is implicated. Part 2) looks at police involvement and evasion by the ring. Part 3) is about trying to report a safety risk to an event. Part 4) shares a new development. And this part looks at the issues with an expert.
Jenny Edwards (mjennyedwards.com) may be the only person in the U.S. (or the world) who specializes solely in issues related to zoophilia and bestiality. She helps legislators, law enforcement, investigators (both above & below ground), social workers, psychiatrists, and attorneys with understanding, detecting, and prosecuting animal sex abusers.
(Patch:) Hi Jenny, thanks for being generous with your time. Briefly, how would you rate my non-professional/independent investigation on this story, and can you give a “greatest hits” of your background?
(Jenny:) First, let me just say how amazed I am at the work you’ve done on exposing zoosadism within the zoo and furry communities. I know how difficult it is to get solid information in the first place, let alone cross-check it with other sources, so kudos to you for not only doing that but for sharing this important information. Now about my background …
- Prior to Ken Pinyan’s death in 2005 (the “Enumclaw case”) I was a systems engineer with Xerox, IBM, and Microsoft.
- At the time of the Enumclaw case, I was managing a large animal shelter, which is how I became intrigued with zoophilia (sexual interest in animals) and bestiality (acting on that sexual interest). On behalf of Pinyan’s family, we moved his horse to our farm where I began to understand the challenges a sexually abused animal faces, and just how little we knew about animal-attracted people (AAPs) or people who sexually abuse animals (ASOs).
- Since 2005 I have conducted and published statistical research; written articles for law enforcement, psychology, and veterinary publications; been instrumental in getting laws passed or improved in multiple states; and have developed and delivered training materials for law enforcement, veterinarians, social workers, and prosecutors.
Zoosadism is a heavy topic, so I wanted to reach someone with authority beyond the fan level of my news site. I tried to reach Dr. Mark Griffiths at Psychology Today, but he was busy being a professor. I tried getting a referral from the GOP office for Elton Gallegly (former Republican U.S. Congressman who helped to outlaw animal crush videos), and they treated this like a conspiracy theory and how dare I ask. It’s hard to know where to start with something so specialized. Do these issues have a hard time getting taken seriously?
Absolutely. The whole topic is met with disgust, disbelief, or derision just about everywhere you turn. Legislators don’t want to tackle “controversial” issues – especially those that have anything to do with “abnormal” sex practices. Law enforcement officers think bestiality is “just” about animals and they’ve got murder and mayhem to worry about. Prosecutors are reluctant to take on cases because they may only prosecute one bestiality case in their entire career, so what’s the point in studying the law to get the best result for the victim? Judges are reluctant to send animal abusers to jail and think they’ll do better with counseling, but mental health practitioners don’t see sexual attraction to animals as a mental health disorder. So all of this perpetuates the reluctance to do in-depth research that would aid in our understanding of the nature and prevalence of the practice.