On July 8, 2013, the Oregon Humane Society announced that important legal protections for the animals were recently passed by the Oregon state legislature.
The Omnibus Animal Welfare Bill, SB6, was passed by both state legislative branches on July 6. The provisions of this bill include the following:
- Recognizes the link between human violence and animal cruelty by elevating penalties for any animal crime committed when there are prior convictions for domestic violence or when in the presence of a minor.
- Grants judges stronger abilities to sentence animal offenders to prison.
- Affords new protections to horses and other livestock by barring those convicted of animal neglect or abuse from possessing horses and other livestock.
- Expands state oversight of rescue groups, requiring licensing and permitting inspections.
“This legislation is a big step forward for Oregon’s animals. My thanks go to all the animal lovers in our state who let their opinions be known,” stated Sharon Harmon, Oregon Humane Society’s executive director.
This bill also increases penalties for any crime involving 11 or more pets. This new provision will be a powerful tool against hoarders and those charged with neglecting large numbers of animals.
In cases where animal cruelty is under investigation by law enforcement, the forfeiture and foreclosure process will be streamlined, allowing animals seized in cruelty cases to be placed into adoptive homes sooner.
Several animal organizations collaborated on this landmark legislation, including:
The Animal Legal Defense Fund, The Oregon Humane Society, the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association, the Oregon Farm Bureau, the Humane Society of the United States, and the Oregon Dairyman’s Association.
Legislators also approved a bill, HB 2783, that makes it illegal to chain a dog to a tether all day long and a bill, SB 835, that bans horse tripping in Oregon rodeos.
HB 2783 would prohibit tethering dogs to a stationary line for more than 10 hours within a 24-hour period. The bill would also prohibit tethering dogs for more than 15 hours per day if attached to a pulley. There are exemptions for working dogs, dogs in campgrounds, and when the owner is present.
According to the ASPCA, tethering dogs can lead to aggression. Studies have shown that chained or tethered dogs are approximately three times more likely to bite than dogs who are not chained or tethered.
Dogs are very social animals. Tethered dogs are socially deprived and are often the victims of abuse and neglect, suffering from sporadic feedings, inadequate veterinary care, and lack of access to water. Additionally, tethered dogs suffer from neck injuries and they are unable to defend themselves from abusive people or from stray animals.
Unaltered female dogs who are chained will also attract stray dogs, further contributing to our nation’s pet overpopulation problem.
SB 835 bans horse tripping in Oregon state rodeos. Horse tripping involves using a rope to pull down a moving horse. The practice has been banned in other states because horses can potentially break bones and sustain spinal damage.
According to the American Horse Defense Fund, horse tripping involves roping the front or hind legs of a galloping horse, on foot or on horseback. This causes the horse to trip and come crashing to the ground.
Horse tripping is practiced in 3 of the 9 events held in the charreada, or Mexican-style rodeo. Horse tripping is intentional and points are awarded for dropping the horse.
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