A Bellmead man has been arrested in one of the first known cases of bestiality in Texas.
Philip Samuel Mercon, 27, was arrested shortly before 1:30 a.m. Saturday after a witness told police they saw the man "sexually abusing a dog" in a neighbor's backyard, media reports show.
After Mercon saw police, he let go of the animal — described as a mixed-breed, medium-sized male dog — and tried to run away from the area, according to a report from the Waco Tribune-Herald.
“Officers notified the animal owner on scene so that she could provide any care the dog needed," police said in an article by KWTX 10. "At this time, there are no reports of injury to the dog."
Texas lawmakers last year officially banned bestiality to prevent Texans from having sex with animals.
Under the law, which went into effect Sept. 1, Texans who have sexual contact with animals could receive a sentence of up to two years in jail.
And if the animal has severe injuries or dies because of the sexual contact — or if that contact occurs in the presence of a child younger than 18 — the offender could face a longer sentence behind bars.
Mercon was arrested on a charge of bestiality, a state jail felony, and charges of evading arrest and criminal trespass. He was booked into the McLennan County Jail, where he later was released on an $8,000 bond.