FAIRBANKS — A Fairbanks man is the first person in Alaska to be accused of having sexual contact with an animal since bestiality was outlawed in the state two months ago.
Imran A. Jamal, 26, a Pakistani national living in Fairbanks on a student visa, has been charged with one count of cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a $10,000 fine.
A woman at Fairview Manor told Fairbanks police that she left Jamal alone with her Lhasa apso, a type of small dog, for about 15 minutes Oct. 13.
Until this year, Alaska’s animal cruelty statute only made it a crime to torture or kill animals outside of standard veterinary care or common farming practices.
In June, Gov. Sean Parnell signed a bill that added “knowingly... enag(ing) in sexual conduct with an animal” to the existing animal cruelty statute. The change went into effect in September.
The bill enjoyed bipartisan support in Juneau following several reports of bestiality in the state, including July 2009 incident at Fort Wainwright when a soldier reportedly sodomized a dachshund.
Supporters said the bill closed an important gap in state law and cited studies that show people who abuse animals without penalty are far more likely to abuse children or vulnerable adults.
Contact staff writer Chris Freiberg at 459-7545.