Case Snapshot
Case ID: 165
Classification: Bestiality
Animal: chicken
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Wednesday, May 30, 2001

County: Porter

Disposition: Convicted

Defendant/Suspect: Michael Bessigano

Case Updates: 2 update(s) available

After chicken feathers and blood were found all over a room at Valparaiso Motel on Monday, Valparaiso police were called to investigate.

The room was found to have been rented Sunday night to Michael Bessigano, a 30-year-old Valparaiso man with a history of harming and having sex with animals. Police questioned Bessigano on Tuesday, and police said he admitted he had sex with a chicken. Bessigano was booked into Porter County Jail on a felony animal cruelty charge. Because this is the third crime against animals he's been charged with, he also is being charged as a habitual offender, said Chief Deputy Prosecutor Brian Gensel. He faces up to 7 1/2 years in prison if convicted of both charges.

"He's got problems and hopefully he will be getting some help," said Valparaiso Detective Lt. Mike Brickner. "He has these urges that need to be addressed." Brickner said Bessigano stole a chicken Sunday from a chicken farm along Ind. 2, south of Valparaiso. He took the chicken to his motel room on U.S. 30, which he'd just rented that one night, and plucked its feathers so he could have sex with it, Brickner said. Bessigano then had sex with the animal and it died, Brickner said. Although Bessigano has been out of jail since January, police said this is his first run-in with the law this year.

"There's no indication he's done this (animal abuse) recently prior to that night," Brickner said. The owner of the motel told police he had no idea Bessigano was a convicted animal abuser. Motel officials discovered the blood and feathers when they went to clean the room. Bessigano's animal abuse dates back to 1991 when he was arrested twice, once after being accused of breaking a rooster's neck and once after he was found in a neighbor's goose pen apparently attempting to molest the geese.

He was also accused of having sex with and killing a Rottweiler dog at a rural Crown Point ranch in 1992. He was convicted of theft and cruelty to an animal, and was imprisoned until 1994. A month after his release, he was arrested in connection with the attempted theft of a German shepherd from some property in St. John Township.
He was returned to prison, then was transferred to prison psychiatric care. He spent time behind bars after he was charged with biting a health care provider at Logansport's psychiatric unit in 1999. He was released on probation in January and had been living with a family member in Valparaiso.

Bessigano has said he slept with dead animals, including a raccoon, when he was a child. While in jail, he would sleep under his cot, paint cat-like stripes on his body and make drawings referring to himself as "master of cats."

Case Updates

Michael Bessigano, 37, of Hobart was arrested Thursday by federal authorities on a charge of transportation of obscene materials involving bestiality between February and June. U.S. Magistrate Paul Cherry also ordered Bessigano to undergo psychological evaluation to determine whether he was sane at the time of the most recent alleged offense.
Source: Pet-Abuse.Com - Case 14044
Update posted on Jul 8, 2008 - 5:53PM 
The recent parole of a man convicted of sexually assaulting and killing a chicken in a Valparaiso motel room has sparked a move to make bestiality a distinct crime in Indiana.

Michael Bessigano, 36, received a 10 1/2 year prison sentence after admitting to stealing a farm chicken in October 2001 and taking it to U.S. 30 motel where he killed the animal while having sex with it. He was found competent to stand trial, and previous arrests involving alleged abuse or theft of dogs, geese and a rooster helped Porter County prosecutors secure a maximum sentence for animal cruelty.

With Bessigano's release approaching, a detective with the Lake County Sheriff's Department asked state Rep. Linda Lawson, D-Hammond, to introduce legislation that sets specific penalties for sexual acts with animals.

House Bill 1387 would make bestiality a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year behind bars and a fine of up to $5,000. The crime would become a Class D felony punishable by up to three years in prison if the animal "suffers extreme pain or death."

The state granted Bessigano his mandatory release Jan. 8, but he was transferred to Cass County Jail to serve 315 days remaining on a previous probation violation, said Yvette Salinas, Gary Parole District supervisor for the Indiana Department of Correction.

Bessigano plans to move to an assisted living center in Gary once released, authorities said. Until his parole is complete in November 2008, he will only be allowed to leave the facility for treatment sessions.

Lawson's legislation also would create standard definitions for animal neglect and torture, which she said would assist law enforcement in prosecuting cases of animal cruelty. The effort stems from the high-profile case involving a Gary firefighter charged with conducting dogfights in Calumet Township.

The legislation also would make it crime to harm or kill a family pet in furtherance of domestic violence.
Source: NWI.Com - Jan 24, 2007
Update posted on Jan 24, 2007 - 6:12PM 


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