I’m using part of my holiday break to read Alan Taylor’s brilliant book on early American History called American Colonies. If you don’t know Taylor, you might look him up as he won the Pulitzer Prize for William Cooper’s Town, another very notable book.
In the American Colonies, as part of a chapter on New England, he writes this, which I could not help from sharing.
The Puritans felt a compelling duty to employ government to punish sinners, less the colonists provoke God by tolerating sin in their midst. Drawing upon the Old Testament as well as the English common law, the Puritan colonies criminalized immorality, including breaking the Sabbath, worshipping idols, blaspheming the name of God, and practicing magic. The most sensational cases involved male sex with animals. In 1642 the New Haven authorities suspected George Spenser of bestiality when a sow bore a piglet that carried his resemblance. He confessed and they hanged both Spenser and the unfortunate sow. New Haven also tired, convicted, and executed the unfortunately named Thomas Hogg for the same crime.
If you have to hang the man, sure, but the sow?