TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Bestiality is now officially a crime in New Jersey.
Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed the measure Monday and it goes into effect immediately.
About 10 states remain with no law against bestiality on the books.
Violators could face up to 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. And tougher penalties could be imposed if the person had a prior animal cruelty conviction or if the animal dies or is seriously injured by the act.
Law enforcement authorities had previously prosecuted such cases under the state's animal cruelty statutes. But in 2009, animal cruelty charges were dropped against a former Moorestown police officer accused of sexually molesting cows because prosecutors could not prove the animals were harmed.