A West Main Street man was arrested Tuesday on charges of bestiality after police and animal control officers saw him having sex in the rain with a male pit bulldog.
Reinaldo Lazaro Diaz, 68, was booked into the Bulloch County Jail on charges of cruelty to animals and third-offense public indecency, according to jail records, but Statesboro Police Deputy Chief Rob Bryan, interim police chief, said in a press release issued Wednesday afternoon that Diaz is charged with bestiality.
Statesboro police officers and Bulloch County Humane Enforcement officers responded to a call around 4:40 p.m. regarding a male who "was seen behind a residence and appeared to be involved in a sexual act with a dog," Bryan said.
Humane Enforcement Supervisor Joey Sanders said that he and other officers expected to locate the offender upon arrival but did not expect to catch him in the act of molesting the black-and-white dog.
Officers met first with witnesses who had taken cellphone video and photos of Diaz, who Sanders said was "completely naked," as he assaulted the dog. When they walked behind the residence to find Diaz, they saw him "naked, straddling the dog, with the dog on its back," he said.
It was drizzling rain at the time, Sanders said. Officers located a pair of shorts inside the apartment where Diaz lives, and after he put them on, they took him into custody. Diaz spoke no English but conversed with an officer who spoke Spanish, he said.
The dog belongs to a woman who is allegedly related to Diaz by marriage and lives next door to Diaz. The animal was not injured, and Sanders did not confiscate the dog, which was being cared for properly by its owner, who was not aware of the situation, he said.
The case was turned over to the Statesboro Police Criminal Investigations Bureau and assigned to Detective Travis Kreun, Bryan said.
The Statesboro Herald filed an open records request with the city of Statesboro on Wednesday for information on Diaz's criminal history, including reasons for his previous convictions of public indecency, which is why his charge reads "third offense."
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.