Labrador puppy
Bestiality is now a crime in Ohio (file photo)REUTERS/Jason Lee

A man accused of performing a sex act on a dog has been charged under a new state law that criminalises bestiality. The law went into effect on 21 March 2017 and makes sexual contact with an animal a misdemeanour offence that carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail upon conviction.

Previously, animal cruelty laws applied, but Cleveland Animal Protection League president Sharon Harvey said those cases were difficult to prosecute because they required proof the animal suffered.

Cleveland.com reported on Thursday 21 September that 47-year-old Scott Turner was charged with the misdemeanour. Turner was told to appear in court on 5 October. Court records didn't list an attorney for him, and he doesn't have a publicly listed telephone number.

Turner told Cleveland Animal Protection League investigators he was caring for a woman's dog in May when he abused it, according to court records.

He previously served more than 12 years in prison for sex crimes involving children. He pleaded guilty to several counts including rape and kidnapping with sexual motivation, according to court records. He was released in 2015.

An Ohio woman who was caught performing sexual acts on a dog has been sentenced to jail after pleading no contest to a bestiality charge on 11 May 2017.

Amber Finney, 33, initially denied the allegations despite being recorded in the act on video, and told police the clip was a fake. However, police said "it is clear as day that it is not a fake video". It was also posted on social media and subsequently went viral. Police said the incident took place on New Year's Day 2017.

Finney – who is from the city of Warren – was sentenced to 180 days behind bars, 120 of which were suspended. She also received credit for the 33 days that she has already served in Trumbull County Jail.

In addition to the jail term, Finney received five years' probation and cannot possess any animals during that time. Judge Terry Ivanchak also suspended $700 (£543) of a $1,000 fine.

In June 2016, Warren became the first Ohio city to make bestiality illegal. The decision to enact tougher laws came after a Warren man, Salvador Rendon, was accused of having sex with his daughter's dogs multiple times over a six-year period. Rendon was sentenced to 90 days in jail, 60 of which were suspended.

The Humane Society of the United States says bestiality has been criminalised everywhere in the US except Washington DC, Hawaii, Kentucky, New Mexico, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Amber Finney
Amber Finney was the first person be charged with bestiality in Ohio.Facebook / Amber Finney