An environmental lawyer and animal shelter volunteer stands accused of sexually abusing his labrador Snoopy. Ivan DeVoren, 61, was taken in to custody on February 21 and charged with 10 felony counts of animal cruelty, 10 counts of sexual intercourse with an animal in addition to drug charges, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. That report says that a neighbor first reported DeVoren to authorities after hearing “strange noises” coming from the lawyer’s home at the end of January 2018.
The Post-Gazette article reads that the neighbor “heard grunting, creaking furniture, a dog whimpering and several exclamations from Mr. DeVoren that led the neighbor to believe Mr. DeVoren was having sex with his dog.” After securing a warrant, cops found evidence inside DeVoren’s apartment of animal abuse as well as crack cocaine and drug paraphernalia. CBS Pittsburgh reports that Snoopy is in the care of a local vet while DeVoren is set for his first court date on March 1.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Humane Animal Rescue Group Has Said DeVoren Was Never Alone With Any of Their Animals
According to his LinkedIn page, DeVoren has volunteered in the past with Humane Animal Rescue. Speaking to CBS Pittsburgh, an Animal Rescue Group spokesperson said that DeVoren was a dog walker for a number of months but had never been left alone with any animals.
2. In His Practice, DeVoren Represents Energy Companies Against Government Regulations
Online records show that DeVoren has been an attorney in Pennsylvania since 1990. DeVoren maintains his own practice having previously worked for Burleson LLP, a Houston-based energy law firm with additional offices in New York City and Pittsburgh that shut down in 2015 due to a poor oil market. An article published when DeVoren joined Burleson in 2011 saw managing partner Kevin Colosimo refer to DeVoren as “a highly accomplished, highly experienced attorney, and we’re proud to have him on board.”
At DeVorenLaw.com, there is a bio detailing DeVoren’s legal career that reads, “His vast experience in environmental and energy law encompasses emerging issues regarding natural gas exploration, production and distribution, climate change, greenhouse gas emissions, and alternative and renewable energy.” The profile goes on to say that DeVoren advises companies and financial institutions on “environmental matters relating to industrial and commercial operations; oil and gas exploration and production.” DeVoren adds, “I’ve been practicing corporate and environmental/energy law for over 25 years, and I’ve found that my clients truly appreciate the time and effort I put into every aspect of their business. I’m here to help you succeed – that’s something I don’t take lightly.”
3. On His Twitter Page, DeVoren Refers to Himself as a ‘Lawyer & Philanthropist’
On his now-deleted Twitter page, DeVoren refers to himself as a “lawyer and philanthropist.” Prior to going in to the legal profession, DeVoren studied marketing at Penn State University, graduating in 1978, according to his LinkedIn page. From there, DeVoren opened a chain of tobacco stores in Philadelphia and Darby named DeVoren Stores.
DeVoren went in to law at Temple University in 1986 and began as a law clerk with Brookman, Rosenberg, Brown and Sandler, in 1988.
4. Investigators Say that They Uncovered Injuries to Snoopy’s Colon
Snoopy had injuries to his colon which investigators took as evidence of sexual abuse, reports the Tribune-Review. In addition to crack cocaine, CBS Pittsburgh reports that heroin and marijuana were also found in his home.
5. There Are 5 States Where Bestiality Isn’t Illegal; Pennsylvania Isn’t One of Them
According to a Michigan State University study, there are five states, Hawaii, Kentucky, New Mexico, West Virginia and Wyoming, that do not have an anti-bestiality law as well as the District of Columbia. The study goes on to say that there is no federal statute against bestiality but there is a military law that reads, “[a]ny person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with . . . an animal is guilty of sodomy.”
An animal rights philosopher, Peter Singer, has written an essay titled “Heavy Petting” which suggests that not all sex between humans and animals is abuse. Singer writes that the societal view of bestiality is due to society’s view that humans are superior to animals.