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Ms Juliet O. Nyangái, Advocate & Legal Advisor AVC

Advocate J.O. Nyangái discusses the criminal element of bestiality, trend of the same in Kenya and the direct link between bestiality and Animal Cruelty and Way forward

There is a trend, a vile act less talked about but becoming increasingly rampant. There are compelling reasons as to why the same would be less discussed and even though it would be, it would be in hush tones as the same is considered revolting, bizarre and compunctious by many. The act is ‘’bestiality’’, an act considered foreign, taboo and unafrican by many. It is highly probable that many cases or incidents of bestiality go unreported. A case scenario is when renown veterinarian, Dr Marsden Onsare, Managing Director of Aniworld Veterinary Clinic caught the then family workman red handed sodomizing the family goat back in 2003 thereabout. At that time, Dr Marsden now popularly referred to as ‘’The Legend” due to his skills in Veterinary practice had just finished High School and being an animal lover was judiciouly traumatized, alerted neighbors of the same. The matter was reported to the Area Chief and the culprit was dismissed from duty, compelled to compensate the family and take the goat with the matter being put to rest. Dr Marsden then henceforth vowed to be vegeterian

Bestiality is most often confused with zoophilia though the two words refer to different sorts of human to non-human behavior. Zoophilia is typically defined as relating to recurrent intense sexual fantasies and urges with animals whilst bestiality refers to sexual activities with animals. In 2016 Denmark passed a law making bestiality a criminal offense in a move to tackle animal-sex tourism. The subject in discussion made cringing headlines in  Kenya in 2013 when 11 girls were caught having sex with a German Shepherd in Nyali, Mombasa County as a Swedish foreign tourist filmed them. All the 11 Kenyan women together with the foreign tourist who had declared himself a tourist, visiting the county upon entry were arrested for engaging in illicit activities.

As recent as January, 2018 a 35 year old man from Kangundo, Machakos County appeared before Court to face charges of engaging in unnatural acts with two goats. The man was allegedly spotted pulling the goats in a bush where he performed the vile acts. According to authorities, after the act, the man killed the animals.

Bestiality or unnatural acts is considered a felony in Kenya as according to Section 162 (b) of the Penal Code, a person guilty of having carnal knowledge of an animal is liable for imprisonment for up to 14 years and under Section 163 it is stipulated that a person who attempts to commit any unnatural offence is liable to imprisonment for 7 years. Thus even as bestiality has been banned under laws criminalizing unnatural offenses, it has not been ‘’specifically’’ outlawed. It is unfortunate how even in the clamor for upholding rule of law, the motive behind the law regards ‘’unnatural acts” is retributive but the major concern is not for Animal Welfare and Animal Rights. Animals are sentient beings and do have feelings and feel pain. As per people’s sentiments, the major concern is that the act of bestiality is considered taboo and revolting and the prime worry is that the animal shall be unfit for human consumption. There is rarely the thought of the aggravated animal abuse and utter disregard of the violated animal’s rights.

As per the Kenyan Laws, the offense of bestiality ought to carry a heavy penalty as proscribed. It is however unfortunate how some offenders are awarded sentences which can be considered mere slap on the wrists. In 2017, 18-year old Kevin Simiyu from Bungoma was sentenced to 15 months in jail after being caught red handed performing sexual acts with a hen. He was nabbed in the act by the hen’s owner, Judith Nasimiyu at Nandolia, Kanduyi sub-county in Bungoma. It was reported that the hen later died from the incident. The owner of the hen presented to the Court pictures and video clips she had taken of the culprit whilst he was in the act.

In January 2016, a woman from Thika, Kiambu County shocked Court as she narrated how she caught Onyango, a mechanic from Thika red handed having sex with her goat. She immediately raised the alarm and residents rushed to the scene and frog matched the suspect to a nearby police station. When arraigned in Court, Onyango denied the offence even though a Veterinary Officer’s report showed the goat had indeed been sexually abused. In the same year, a man in Nyamira County escaped lynching by an irate mob after he raped a goat to death and in yet in another incident in 2016, a Kenya Power employee was nabbed sodomising a sheep in Lugari, Kakamega County. It was reported that the sheep’s owner, a Mariam Chitechi caught him in her immediate neighbour’s maize plantation committing the sexual offense.

Currently, there are a number of countries where zoophilia is legal including Brazil, Mexico, Thailand, Hungary and Romania. In the United States of America, there is apparently no federal law against zoophilia although the same is considered a felony and/or misdemeanor with the exception of some states thus making it technically legal.

The cases are reported all over Kenya and not confined in a specific area of the country depicting that bestials are everywhere and living amongst us thus the need to protect our animals On- June 15, 2015, a 35 year old man in Limuru was accused of having being caught pants down, literally, having sex with a sheep. Residents from Karanjee area claim that they heard sheep repeatedly bleet from a maize plantation and upon investigation, found Christopher Momanyi having sex with his neighbour’s sheep. They first caned the naked man before apprehending and taking him to the Police Station.

Most of the reported bestiality cases in Kenya concern sheep and goats though larger animals are not exempted. There have been cases of donkeys and even cows being sexually molested by human beings in Kenya. In July of 2018, 29 year old John Mwaura from Bahati, Nakuru County faced the full wrath of an irate mob after he was caught having sexual relations with his neighbor’s cow. After being caught, he confessed that, that was the 5th cow he had accosted sexually. In October, 2017 a 22 year old man in Embu North Sub County by the name of John Murimi was also caught engaging in an unnatural act with his neighbor’s cow in Kithiro village. There are also other shuddering reported cases of persons having sexual relations with donkeys.

Kenya’s Constitution promulgated in 2010 covers Animal Rights, both domestic and wild animals. The Kenya Parliament passed the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (2012) which is broader than the initial one passed in 1983. The new Law aims to control the treatment of animals including their use in experiments. The Act criminalizes Animal Cruelty or cruel behavior towards an animal. The acts explicitly mentioned in the Act include; committing violence against an animal, overworking an animal when it is diseased, starvation and denial of water, abandonment, poisoning, careless surgery procedures, hunting and killing in a cruel manner and prolonging the life of an animal in great pain. Nothing is mentioned about bestiality or zoophilia.

Way Forward

Perhaps there is need to review current Law to encompass bestiality under Animal abuse and Animal cruelty laws. Research shows that most perpetrators of bestiality are most often repeat offenders. As long as they are not apprehended, they tend to repeat the same acts. There is thus need to enact more stringent laws as not only deterrence but also as a way of heralding Animal Welfare and Animal Rights. Such laws would include; lengthy prison sentences for those found guilty and even a prohibition of perpetrators from owning or living with animals. It is also not an impossibility to think of embracing technology in the quest of advancing Animal Welfare and Protection Laws. Implementing a replica of Megan’s Law which requires convicted animal sexual offenders to register would be quite progressive. The same shall aid members of the public better protect their animals but this as things are as in matters Animal Welfare, seems more a mirage than real.


The above article appeared on the Aniworld Veterinary Clinic blog on the 28th June, 2019


Ms J.O Nyangái is an Advocate of the High Court of Kenya, Principal Partner at Juliet Nyangai & Co. Advocates & Legal Advisor of Aniworld Veterinary Clinic. She is passionate about Animal Welfare and Animal Rights and can be reached on nyangaij@gmail.com

Twitter Handle: @nyangaij

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