A Pennsylvania judge pondered a very unusual question during a ruling issued Monday: When a former police officer stuck his male member in the mouths of five baby cows, did they enjoy "suckling" it, or were they merely "puzzled"?
"During a bizarre hearing there yesterday, a Superior Court judge dismissed animal-cruelty charges against a Moorestown police officer accused of sticking his penis into the mouths of five calves in rural Southampton in 2006, claiming a grand jury couldn't infer whether the cows had been 'tormented' or 'puzzled' by the situation or even irritated that they'd been duped out of a meal," reported Jason Nark with the Philadelphia Daily News.
Weighing the case, Judge James J. Morley reportedly asked: "If the cow had the cognitive ability to form thought and speak, would it say, 'Where's the milk? I'm not getting any milk'?"
Equating the act of putting a penis in the mouth of a cow with a human baby suckling on a pacifier, the judge reportedly added: "They [children] enjoy the act of suckling. Cows may be of a different disposition."
The strained logic of such questions eventually led the judge to waive charges of animal cruelty against Robert Melia, a suspended officer with the Moorestown Police Department.
Because bestiality is not illegal where the officer committed the acts, Melia was only charged with animal cruelty, leading the judge to determine what exactly constitutes cruelty in this case. While prosecutors called the act "a crime against nature," Melia's lawyer applauded the judge for sticking close to the letter of the law.
"I'm not saying it's OK," the judge said, according to the New York Daily News. "This is a legal question for me. It's not a questions of morals. It's not a question of hygiene. It's not a question of how people should conduct themselves."
"Everybody can laugh and think this is funny, but he never should have been charged in the first place," Melia's lawyer said in a Philly.com story. "A lot of judges will reach conclusions because it's the ruling they want to make. Morley tries to get it right and calls it like he sees it."
Melia and Heather Lewis, his girlfriend, are also facing charges of sexually assaulting three young girls while Melia was a patrolman. Philly.com added that Lewis is additionally charged with the sexual assault of a young male.
The owner of the cows, the Daily News added, was very upset at the ruling.