PHOENIX - A middle school teacher is one of two Valley men arrested for using a popular Internet website to connect with people offering their dogs for sexual acts with humans.
Twenty-five-year-old Patrick Stephen Trejo's students at Raul Castro Middle School knew him as a good music teacher.
"Why would you do something like that," said one of his students, Keena Huesby. "It scared me, because I wouldn't think of him as someone who would get arrested for anything because he seemed like a really nice teacher."
The school sent Huesby home with a letter to her parents, saying their children were never in danger.
"It's just not something I've ever thought about discussing with my kids before," said Huesby's father, David Huesby.
The investigation indicated there is secret language amongst Craiglist users in order to obscure their criminal plans, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said.
According to court paperwork, Trejo wrote, "Hit me up if you have a pup to play with," and made the call for anyone who was interested in "K-9 play" on Craigslist.
Another man, 47-year-old Keith D. Kiefer of Mesa was also arrested in the online sting, but the arrests were unrelated to each other, according to Arpaio.
Arpaio said there are apparently Craigslist users who train their animals for the encounters, and that no money was offered or exchanged.
"I think they figured the dog was already trained for the activity, so they didn't need to bring any bones to bribe the dog," he said.
According to the court documents, Kiefer, an unemployed handyman, wrote that he was looking to try, "Beasty worship of the kinky kind" and requested pictures of the dog's genitals, which he said he "liked very much."
Arpaio said undercover deputies corresponded with the two men, posing as the handler of a male shepherd mix, and arranged to meet them in local hotel rooms where the sex acts were to occur. Before the actual sex act occurred, the deputies took the suspects into custody.
"I don't want to get into too much of the sex situation, but when I mention domination, I presume you might catch on as to what I'm talking about," said Arpaio.
Zues, the dog detectives used as bait, had been neglected and rescued from an abusive home. He is now up for adoption. Deputies said they used the two-year-old dog because he is the friendliest one they had.
There was not a bestiality law on the books in Arizona until 2006, when one of Mesa's assistant fire chiefs was allegedly caught trying to fornicate with a sheep.
The investigation took several months, and Arpaio has pledged to continue the stings.
According to Meri Simmons with the Cartwright School District, the following letter was sent home with students at Raul H. Castro Middle School where Trejo taught:
We were notified today that one of our teachers has been arrested on charges unknown at this time. The teacher involved will be placed on administrative leave and will not be permitted to return to school, pending the outcome of the investigation by authorities, as well as by our staff.
At no time, were your children in any danger. Please be assured that your child’s safety is always our utmost concern.