A 69-year-old man flew from Pennsylvania to Arizona to engage in “sex acts” with two mini-horses, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office says.
Michael Crawford was arrested Friday in Phoenix after he met with deputies posing as the horses’ owners. He was charged with suspicion of bestiality, the Arizona Republic reports.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Crawford Exchanged Months of Emails With Undercover Detectives Before Flying to Arizona
The Maricopa County Sheriff’s office said the undercover detectives with the department’s Animal Crimes Investigations Unit found Michael Crawford through a posting he made on an unnamed website in October 2014. The detectives, posing as the owners of horses, talked to Crawford for several months through emails and phone calls, the sheriff’s office said, according to the Arizona Republic.
Crawford allegedly posted an advertisement soliciting a horse owner who would allow him to commit “perverted” acts with the animals, Sheriff Joe Arpaio said at a press conference.
In one email to the undercover detectives, Crawford said, “If you can really help with what I’m seeking, I am definitely interested in traveling out to see you.” He also asked the detective what kind of horses and ponies he had, how large they were and if they are to be used to human sexual play, the sheriff’s office said in a press release.
He explained in graphic detail what his desires were and what he wanted to do with the horses, the sheriff’s office said.
2. ‘When He Saw the Horse of Course He Got All Excited’
Crawford flew to Phoenix on Friday and met with the detectives, Arpaio said. The detectives brought Crawford to a trailer to show him two mini-horses.
“We had our horse, I believe, in a trailer and when he saw the horse of course he got all excited,” Arpaio said at a press conference.
Police recorded the meeting with Crawford and released that video the media. In the video, one of the detectives tells Crawford, “Dirk’s on the left, he’s the one I was telling you about that’s got the big (expletive).”
The detective asks Crawford, “so what do you think, these guys are going to work?” and Crawford replies, “oh yeah, I think so.”
One of the detectives then asked Crawford if he’s ever had sex with a mini-horse, and he replies that “the one he had in Tennessee was a black one, it was a black stallion. There were two of them, but the one, the one could, but the other one, they said ‘he hasn’t figured out what it’s used for yet’ so they couldn’t get him to do anything.”
3. He Allegedly Wanted the Horses to Urinate on Shirts He Brought With Him to Take Home
The sheriff’s office said Crawford brought five shirts with him that he wanted the horses to urinate on. He planned to take the shirts home with him.
Arpaio said Crawford wanted to then wear the shirts for “arousal purposes.”
4. He Told Detectives He Has Been Doing This Since 1970
“Perversion has reached a new level,” Arpaio said in a press release.
Arpaio said Crawford told investigators he has been involved in bestiality since the 1970s.
“He travels around, when he can get the opportunity, when he’s soliciting this type of experience,” Arpaio said. According to the press release, Crawford has traveled around extensively to find horse owners in various cities who will allow him access to their horses for sexual purposes.
5. Arpaio Says There Isn’t ‘Enough Teeth’ to Arizona’s Animal Cruelty Laws
“I take this crime seriously,” Arpaio told KPHO. “It is part of my office’s fight against animal abuse. These animals are not meant to be sex toys for the perverted.”
Arpaio said at a press conference that, “This is animal cruelty; there is not enough teeth in the law for animal cruelty. He would have gotten away with it if he’d picked the wrong county and the wrong sheriff.”
He said he has a dedicated unit to fight animal cruelty and neglect, and also started a safe house in the First Avenue jail where female inmates care for animals seized by deputies care for animals seized in abuse and neglect situations.
Crawford told the detectives he didn’t know why he was being arrested, since he didn’t actually have sex with the horses. Attempting to commit bestiality is a class 6 felony. Arpaio said his office has made eight bestiality arrests in the past five years.
Crawford is being held at the 4th Avenue Jail.