Authorities in Cumberland County, N.C., arrested Ray Lynn Mitcham Jr. Monday after his neighbor claimed she saw him having sex with her dog, according to the Gaston Gazette.
Mitcham, 33, of Linden, N.C., was charged with a crime against nature, a felony. He appeared before a magistrate at the county jail on Jan. 9 and was released on a $5,000 unsecured bond.
Debbie Tanna of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office said the incident occurred Jan. 2, when Mitcham's next-door neighbor, who also is Mitcham's landlord, opened the door to his mobile home and saw him attacking her dog.
The dog, a shepherd-Lab mix weighing 60 pounds, was taken to Cumberland County Animal Control , where a veterinarian recovered a DNA sample that Tanna said matched Mitcham.
"There's no way he can sidestep this," Tanna told the Associated Press.
Animal Control director Dr. John Lauby said the examination showed no physical injury to the dog. He said he doubts the attack will leave lasting trauma.
"With dogs, the dominant animal breeds with the others, so I don't think there will be psychological damage," Lauby told The Huffington Post.
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Allison Gionatto of Pet-Abuse.com agreed, to a point.
"A dog understands pain, but not shame," Gionatto said. "You can't prove emotional damage because you can't put the dog up on the stand."
After the examination, the dog was returned to its owner.
Tanna said sexual assaults against animals are rare in Cumberland County, located near Fayetteville.
"I've been here for seven years and there was only one other case, over in Spring Lake, N.C.," she said. "He was a mental patient."