Bestiality is now illegal in New Jersey — but there are still 10 other states where it is not.

Bestiality remains legal in the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming, with bills pending in New Hampshire and Ohio, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

Thirty-seven states have passed laws prohibiting sexual abuse of animals and 21 states consider bestiality to be a felony-level offense,the group says.

Under a bill signed by Gov. Chris Christie this week, violators in New Jersey could face up to 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000. 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.

The bill was proposed by Rutgers student Katie Schwartzer during her internship for Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli. The Animal Alliance if New Jersey in a comment on a Facebook page in memory of Schwartzer, who died in February, called the bill "a legacy gift to animals from In Memory of Katie Schwartzer. She did a lot of good work on behalf of animals in need — this is a great accomplishment."

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.

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