« "Mass Incarceration in Three Midwestern States: Origins and Trends" | Main | "Punishment Without Culpability" »

January 16, 2013

How do puppy rapists get treated in prison?

It is often reported that child rapists are often treated as pariahs even among the most hardened criminal is prison.   Consequently, this stunning local sentencing story prompted the (serious?) question in the title of this post. The article — which has an ending that led me to double-check it wasn't from The Onion — is headlined "N.Y. super who had sex with dog gets prison."  Here are the details:

An apartment building superintendent who was caught on tape entering a unit and having sex with the tenant's puppy was sentenced to prison Tuesday.

Kujtim Nicaj, 44, was sentenced Tuesday by Westchester County Judge Barry Warhit to 6.5 years in prison and 7 years' probation after pleading guilty in October 2012 to burglary and sexual misconduct charges.  "This case was unusual to say the least," Warhit said.  "You exhibited cruelty to the animal.  Your behavior was inexcusable."

Alan Kachalsky thought something in his apartment was amiss for months — blinds drawn that had not been, a window left open that he had left shut.  But nothing ever went missing, and, fearing he may come off as paranoid, Kachalsky never went to the police. Instead, he set up three cameras and waited.  Kachalsky shared his apartment at the Rye Colony Cooperative Apartments with a male Labrador puppy, Gunner, who, unbeknownst to Kachalsky, was the real target of the burglar.

The burglar, it turned out, wasn't there to steal anything, Kachalsky said Tuesday, but for something far more unimaginable.  Kachalsky, an attorney, said it never occurred to him that someone was returning to have sex with his dog.  Kachalsky turned over the video to police, who questioned and arrested Nicaj on Feb. 9, 2012, for sex acts against the 1-year-old dog committed the day before.

Nicaj, who wore a blue-striped gray sweater and blue jeans Tuesday in Westchester County Court, spoke little in court before his sentence, only telling Warhit that he had nothing to say.  Steven Davidson, a lawyer for Nicaj, indicated after the proceedings that he might appeal the sentence, calling it unfair.  "We'll do everything we can to protect his interests," Davidson said, adding that Nicaj was doing well under the circumstances, "other than what his family is going through."...

Nicaj, a 15-year resident of Rye, worked at the apartment complex for six years before his arrest, and Kachalsky said that the super seemed like a normal guy until one day, a few weeks before Kachalsky had set up the cameras, when the two had an odd run-in outside Kachalsky's apartment.   "He said he had stopped by to check the gas," Kachalsky said, even though the gas had been on for some time.

Finally, Kachalsky set up three cameras, which provided indisputable evidence — "a naked man, in your apartment, having sex with your dog," Kachalsky said.  "I was wondering why someone would keep coming in here," Kachalsky said. "I never noticed anything to make me think."

A subsequent examination of Gunner by a veterinarian revealed no permanent physical damage, Kachalsky said, and the vet even expressed surprise that the soon-to-be 2-year-old pup could still interact normally with men.  The dog had always eagerly greeted visitors at the door, Kachalsky said, and still does, but on the video, with Nicaj, Gunner was abnormally passive.  "Gunner just sat on the couch," Kachalsky said.  "He did not get up."

Now, Kachalsky said, Gunner is mostly back to his old self.  He turns 2 years old Jan. 25. "Anytime anyone comes in, he's all over 'em," Kachalsky said.  "He's a terrific dog."

Given the apparent happy ending for the victims of this crime, I am not sure whether to encourage off-color jokes about this case or to engage in serious analysis of the prosecution of this peculiar puppy rapist.  Thus, I pose this dilemma to readers:

January 16, 2013 at 09:31 AM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference How do puppy rapists get treated in prison?:


See also http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/29/rodell-vereen-sc-man-char_n_247245.html (S. Carolina buggery prosecution for a second sex-with-horse offense, after the first one landed the defendant on SC's S.O. registry) I wonder if an as-applied challenge to SORNA's jurisdiction could have any legs.

Posted by: SashokJD | Jan 16, 2013 10:43:13 AM

First of all, we should NOT JOKE about any of the horrendous circumstances about this rape. Would we joke about human victims? While the Onion reference was certainly within the bounds of decency, any other joke: age of puppy, etc., is meant more for amusement at the situation rather than for serious consideration in determining culpability and punishment for the offender.

Having said that, let me address the points, all in seriousness.

1. The puppy's age would not matter in the least. What would matter would be the physical damage that the puppy incurred, and possibly any psychological damage that could be determined by an animal behavior specialist.

2. The point is unrealistic. However, it is certainly possible there have been other dog victims in the complex, and perhaps a cursory check of the dogs' owners for any strange behavior in their pets.

3. Yes, bestiality video production SHOULD be investigated and properly prosecuted.

4. No, but you can be damn sure he will be placed on the sex offender registry for his state, most probably the highest tier (mental incapacity + forcible rape).

Rape IS serious matter, and although I admit I'm a bit touchy on the subject as I deal with rape victims and offenders alike on a routine basis, I would rather think the bathroom jokes belong there.

Posted by: Eric Knight | Jan 16, 2013 11:56:49 AM

: Eric Knight : Why are you so intolerant? Are you a Republican?

"Republicans want to tell you who you can love, and want to dictate who you can and cannot marry."

More progressive people have long called it "Puppy Love"!


Are you one of "...these 10 Commandment abiding, ['good'] Christian people who place the laws of God
at the forefront of everything they do and say...[or an] inane followe[r]? Do you engage in "denial of all
that’s real...working so hard at denying what is really going on around [you]"?

If so, such a lifestyle is "really disturbing", and you "seem to have been brainwashed", or "forgotten
what was taught in History", since you appear to be "ignorant of any and all facts", "bitching about
what others have", "saving face", with "too much false pride".

Do you "ever question what [you] are being told?" or "[A]re [you] afraid of the truth?, want
women to be subservient to men,
and want all
non-Caucasians and the poor to be in their own class?"

Because I am so progressively tolerant, I shall only mildly discourage you not to be amongst those who"blindly follow...
being led by their noses...never really able to get past the shock that Santa Claus wasn’t real".

~~Daily Kos,"The Hypocrites That Are The Republican Party", 3/27/12.

Posted by: Adamakis | Jan 16, 2013 1:17:25 PM

Any other contenders for Most Bizarre Criminal Justice Story of 2013 are in for some rough competition.

Posted by: Guy | Jan 16, 2013 1:44:00 PM

Guy : : Why is "*Zoophilia*" "criminal" ? ?

Animal sex advocate Malcolm Brenner:
(who is also, predictably, a Wiccan), is republishing a memoir he wrote about
a 9-month sexual relationship with a theme park dolphin.
Brenner asks, “What is repulsive about a relationship where both partners feel and express love for each other?
I know what I'm talking about here because after we made love, the dolphin put her snout on my shoulder,
embraced me with her flippers and we stared into each others' eyes for about a minute.”

Another activist, Cody Beck:
compares talking about his attraction to dogs and horses to a gay teenager coming out. Harbouring a crush on a Dachshund
is apparently “like being Gay in the 1950s. You feel like you have to hide, that if you say it out loud, people will look at
you like a freak.”

Peter Singer (Princeton bioethicist): "[I]t’s not wrong inherently in a moral sense.”

Dr. T. Stanley: "[T]he gay rights movement has moved American society to a point where it at least has to consider legalising things like polygamy and bestiality."

Cody Beck: "If you allow zoos to be persecuted, who next? Gays?"~~Telegraph (UK),"The Dark Side of Sexual Freedom..." 10/5/13

Posted by: Adamakis | Jan 16, 2013 2:45:01 PM

Maybe he could get a job at the dog pound...Arf Arf...Wait till Peta picks up on this one..

Posted by: Midwest Guy | Jan 16, 2013 3:24:03 PM

I don't see this as wrong or immoral, at least if the animal does not belong to another. I challenge anyone to articulate a theory of wrongfulness that does not also prohibit the killing of animals for sport. The reason why this is prohibited is easy: it disgusts us. That's it. Might be a different story if there was evidence that the animal suffered a good deal of pain, but absent that, this is purely legislation because we don't like to think about something, not because it causes any harm.

This is not a liberal or conservative thing. At least not for me. It's hard for me to even imagine why a government should care, or spend even a cent of its money, to address those that have sex with animals.

This merely demonstrates to me how irrational we are when it comes to sexuality.


Posted by: Margaret Bowman | Jan 16, 2013 3:29:34 PM

Eric Knight: can you be more specific about what you consider to be "the horrendous circumstances about this rape"? I agree that human rape is a very serious matter, and I would not joke about a human victim. But human deaths in car crashes involve a very serious (non-joking) matter, but that reality does not alone make it is per se inappropriate to make jokes about animals who get run over on the highway. (Indeed, people make/sell roadkill toys: http://www.amazon.com/Grind-the-Rabbit-Roadkill-Toy/dp/B004YAP05M.)

The reason I felt this matter could now justify a little levity is because the story reports that a veterinarian decided the dog here suffered no permanent physical damage, and it would seem little or no lasting psychological damage. For that reason, while I share your interest in "serious consideration in determining culpability and punishment for the offender," I have a difficult time avoiding the opportunity for some joking here. That said, I am sorry if you or others took any offense.

Returning to serious issues, I remain eager to hear an account of what you view here as "horrendous circumstances" and whether, in light of your work and interests, you think the sentence "6.5 years in prison and 7 years' probation after pleading guilty" is too light, too heavy or about right.

Posted by: Doug B. | Jan 16, 2013 3:39:20 PM

Ok, in all seriousness....His acts are disgusting.. Hes a sick puppy...( no pun intended )
He needs help for sure....The 6.5 yrs will do nothing to restore him.. It may prevent more incidents
like this from happeniong... I guess you could look at different...He went into tenants dwelling without proper intentions and wasn't related to work...I saw some mention he got excited about checking was it the gas... So why couldn't he be prosecuted in that nature, illegal entry in dwelling...

He also intended to do his deeds, for sure...He entered in this fashion before...

6.5 yrs is way too much, but what is the public to do with acts of this nature.. If he turns to people, the health risks may be terrible....He definitely needs extensive evaluation and long term help..

Posted by: Midwest Guy | Jan 16, 2013 5:10:30 PM

It seems like prisons are the answer to many Mental Health problems these days...REALLY...

The nation is going to get some Federal gun laws passed perhaps.. We can hear about it tonight I think..

My opinion is many of these violent shootings is the result of people needing mental help...Obviously...

But the cost and availability of insurance doesn't cover the needy many times...

So, even with more gun laws and background checks and prosecuting those that fill out there forms illegally, we are still missing the problem.. We will just be putting them in prison and we for sure cannot afford that to continue....The feds just don't get it....But when you don't have a budget and can keep on extending your credit line limitless, cost is never factored in....My .02 worth..

Maybe if congress and US senators, paid into social security, paid for 50% of their health care insurance and wasn't fully vested after a term, they too would have a better feel for cost containment and listen and work together instead of bullying the other party..

Posted by: Midwest Guy | Jan 16, 2013 5:20:48 PM

Any type of animal cruelty, whether motivated by sexual desire or anything else, is wrong and should be subject to sanctions. And like almost everyone else, I am disgusted at the notion that people would engage in sexual relations with animals. But I just don't see having sex with animals in and of itself as something worthy of criminal punishment. I find it hard to believe that sex with animals always causes them pain or suffering, though I prefer not to think too much about it.

On the other hand, what this guy did was wrong on a different level. He potentially interfered with the relationship between a dog and its owner. It sounds like the dog turned out OK, but I would have expected it to have difficulty relating to humans normally after what happened to it. I guess that just shows the resilience of dogs. Nevertheless, the perpetrator should have suffered some kind of sanction, not because he did something disgusting with a dog, but because he interfered with the emotional relationship that a human owner had with his dog. But 6.5 years? That's just absurd.

Now, since Prof. Berman's all but begging for off-color jokes:

"Given the apparent happy ending for the victims of this crime. . ." It's not just the victims who had a happy ending!

Thanks, everyone. I'll be here all week, and don't forget to tip your waitress.

Posted by: C.E. | Jan 17, 2013 1:09:08 AM

Sex with dead deer not illegal, lawyer argues
Wisconsin case hinges on definition of 'animal'

The defence lawyer of a Wisconsin man charged with having sex with a dead deer is claiming he's innocent of any wrongdoing - because a "crimes against sexual morality" statute prohibits sex with animals, but fails to mention carcasses, The Duluth News Tribune reports.


There's nothing I can say... other than people are strange.

Posted by: mike | Jan 17, 2013 6:11:54 PM

::M. Bowman:: << "I don't see this as wrong or immoral, at least if the animal does not belong to another." >>

So theft is wrong, but not bestiality?
Do you base your morality upon the teachings of Henry Lee Lucas (below}, or Roger B. Taney?

Your position is odious and irrational. To advocate the legality of human/beast sexual activity is to debase yourself
rather than declaring it malum in se. To misdesignate the detrimental perversion subjectively because you “don't like to think about” it,
is irrational, grounded on unreasoned feeling and unsupported opinion.

The likelihood of identifying conservatives who share your delusion is perhaps equal to that of identifying the bride and groom in a homosexual “wedding”.

::M. Bowman:: <<"This merely demonstrates to me how irrational we are when it comes to sexuality.">>

Speak for yourself, and perhaps other pro-bestiality atheists; not for "us".

Posted by: Adamakis | Jan 17, 2013 6:55:16 PM

Morally, from the Judeo-Christian Scriptures to Blackstone, “Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith”
to “crime against nature…a crime not fit to be named”, an articulated postulate "of wrongfulness" for sex-with-animals appears.

Practically, here is just a bit of the obvious:

"Henry Lee Lucas, convicted of murder in 11 different cases" "By thirteen,
he was engaging in sex with his older half-brother, who also introduced Henry to the joys of bestiality
and animal torture. One of their favorite activities was slitting the throats of small animals, then sexually violating the corpses."

"A 43-year old woman died after suffering a massive allergic reaction brought on shortly after intercourse with a dog in Limerick.
The woman, a mother of four children, suffered the reaction to the dog’s semen…
A source [reported] last night that the unfortunate woman involved came in contact by Internet with a man who provided the dog…
“Both these people would have been visiting bestiality websites…”

"The APA identifies all forms of animal abuse as diagnostic criteria for conduct disorders, and the FBI uses reports of animal abuse in analyzing the threat potential of suspected and known criminals, as described by FBI supervisory special agent Alan Brantley. Further, a 2002 study by Jory, Flemming, and Burton shows that a significant number of offenders who had engaged in bestialityalso admitted to sexual assaults on humans."

{http://www.joe.ie/news-politics/current-affairs/08/08/11, http://m.lubbockonline.com/i, "The A to Z Encyclopedia of Serial Killers" by Harold Schechter and David Everitt", wikipedia}

Posted by: Adamakis | Jan 17, 2013 6:56:25 PM

I'm not going to offer the list of things which the Bible finds odious yet we now believe morally acceptable, nor the things the Bible finds morally acceptable yet we now find odious. History is replete with both good and bad moral judgments. You appeal to history alone, or to commonly-held belief, doesn't do much when those appeals can, at different places and different points in time, justify or proscribe anything.

A better appeal would be to some form of reason and explanation. You offer none.

"Your position is odious and irrational. To advocate the legality of human/beast sexual activity is to debase yourself rather than declaring it malum in se. To misdesignate the detrimental perversion subjectively because you “don't like to think about” it, is irrational, grounded on unreasoned feeling and unsupported opinion."

This is mere bombast. Here is the reason: if my neighbor has sex with his horse, and the horse is not in pain, nobody has been hurt, either in person or property.

If you have a countervailing reason, I'd love to hear it. But to simply say that it is disgusting, even if this opinion is accepted as true (and it is an opinion, not a reason), does little to tell me what the harm is or why it should be proscribed.


Posted by: Margaret Bowman | Jan 17, 2013 8:07:03 PM

I've read it a million times:

"Rape is not about the sex; It's about control or empowerment over the victim."


Posted by: mike | Jan 17, 2013 9:18:23 PM

Every time I read a news story in which people describe what happened as this perv "having sex with the dog" I wonder at the sanity of the reporter. This is not "having sex" - this is RAPE.

Posted by: Hannah | Jan 12, 2016 5:26:45 PM

Quite frankly kill this abuser of animals or castrate him

Posted by: C Beurle | Dec 24, 2017 7:53:13 PM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB