DELHI TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A cryptic Craigslist ad about "restless" animals led investigators to the door of a Michigan man who is now charged with sodomizing a basset hound, court records indicate.
The ad said: "Anyone have a restless dog or horse that needs occupied for a while?," a detective testified Monday during a hearing that led to charges being issued against Joseph Alan Hattey, 51. "I love playing with them. Preferably not fixed but either is fine, male animals preferred."
An animal control officer in Ingham County, Mich., tracked down the person who placed the ad, and that person reported seeing Hattey having sexual contact with a dog while he was at Hattey's home in January, according to a transcript of the hearing.
Investigators later seized a cellphone and personal computer from Hattey's home. They found numerous photographs of "human and animal acts," including two that authorities contend show Hattey having sex with a dog, the detective testified.
Hattey, a health physicist at Michigan State University's Environmental Health and Safety office who previously worked in the school's Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory, was arraigned Monday in 55th District Court on two counts of sodomy for committing a crime against nature (bestiality).
The Michigan Attorney General's Office said he penetrated a dog with both his hand and penis. Officials are not alleging that Hattey conducted sex acts on campus or with an animal owned by the university, the Attorney General's Office said.
Michigan State University officials have not responded to requests for comment on Hattey or the allegations against him.
Hattey's dog, a basset hound named Flash, has been placed with an adoptive family, said John Dinon, director of Ingham County Animal Control.
The case is being investigated by Dinon's agency in conjunction with the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office.
A concerned citizen alerted animal control to the Craigslist ad Jan. 8, sparking the investigation, Ingham County Sheriff's Detective Ryan Cramer testified.
The ad's author told an animal control officer that Hattey had replied to the ad in January and invited him to his home in Holt, Mich., Cramer testified.
The witness, identified in court records only as a confidential informant, said Hattey had genital contact with the dog and reached around toward the dog's anus before the dog ran away. The court records contain no information indicating the informant has been charged in connection with the investigation.
The informant couldn't see whether Hattey's finger penetrated the dog, but "from the way in which the dog reacted, and in the totality of the circumstances, there's a fair and reasonable inference that actual penetration did occur," the detective testified.
The dog, a cellphone and a desktop computer were seized by investigators during a search of Hattey's home in March. Michigan State Police found "numerous photographs of human and animal acts and artifacts relating to ... a known bestiality website," according to the hearing transcript.
Two of those photos depict a man penetrating a dog but don't show the facial features of either the human or the dog. Cramer noted that the man has "the same general body type" as Hattey, and the dog has "the same distinctive fur pattern" as Hattey's basset hound.
A veterinary examination showed the dog had suffered anal trauma but couldn't determine that it was sexual in nature, the detective testified.
Hattey was interviewed and disputed the informant's version of what happened, Cramer said.
On Monday, Hattey's attorney, Alexander Rusek, said the allegations haven't been proved and that Hattey maintains his innocence. Rusek did not return a message left for him Wednesday.
A hearing to determine whether there's enough evidence for Hattey to stand trial is set for June 21.
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