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Sheep sex doesn't make man a sex offender

A Calhoun County man who sodomized a sheep will not have to register as a sex offender because the sheep cannot be considered a victim of sexual assault under Michigan law, a court ruled this week.
Jeffrey Scott Haynes, 45, is serving a 2 1/2 - to 20-year prison sentence after pleading no contest to sodomy in 2006. He was found trespassing on a farm in Bedford Township in January 2005. The farmer called police when she realized one of her sheep was injured. A DNA sample taken from the sheep matched Haynes, a career criminal with convictions dating to 1985.
At his February 2006 sentencing, Calhoun County Circuit Judge Conrad Sindt ordered that once Haynes was paroled, he must register on the state's public sex offender registry, which includes the names, addresses and offenses of all convicted sex offenders.
Haynes appealed that order, and on Tuesday, a three member panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals agreed.
Noting that the sheep was the "object" of Haynes' "abominable and detestable crime against nature," the judges said the sheep could not be considered a victim, because victims, under Michigan law, are defined as "individuals." The judges, Jane Markey, William Whitbeck and Elizabeth Gleicher, determined the term "individual" means "person" or "human being" and not an animal.
Calhoun County prosecutor John Hallacy, whose office argued successfully in circuit court that Haynes should be required to register, said Wednesday the nature of Haynes' crime showed he is a threat to the community.
"We think that the activity involved exemplifies a dangerous and deviant behavior that ought to fall under the registry requirements," Hallacy said.
Haynes, who was sentenced as a fourth-time habitual offender, is at Parr Highway Correctional Facility in Adrian. He has been convicted of home invasion, forgery and uttering and publishing.
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