Oregon Humane Society



2009 Oregon Legislative Session


Oregon Legislation of Interest to Animal Advocates




Oregon Bills to Follow:


HB 2496  Tax Exemptions

HB 2470  Puppy Protection Act

HB 2529  Animal assault, forfeiture

HB 2539  Fireworks Ban

HB 2574  Veterinarian Loans

HB 2852  Pit Bull Insurance

HB 3348  Search Warrants

SB 280    Cockfighting

SB 297    Increased penalties

SB 298    Neglected pet placement

SB 299    No pets for offenders

SB 303A  Training Requirements

SB 304    Pets in foreclosure

SB 391    Exotic Animals

SB 398    Horse abandonment

SB 677    Pit Bull Ban



Quick Links


Voting record of legislators

Contact your legislator

Keep informed of events in Salem


SB 304:   Pets in Foreclosure OHS Position: Supports
Status: No action pending.


SB 304, backed by Sen. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Beaverton and introduced at the request of the OHS, would for the first time establish a clear process for placing animals abandoned because of foreclosure in loving, caring homes. Financial institutions that foreclose on a home, for example, would be required to provide minimum care for an abandoned animal and to contact the appropriate agency or animal shelter to take custody of the animal. While many mortgage companies and banks try to do the right thing, current law is unclear when it comes to the issues of animal care and ownership transfer.


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SB 303A: Training and Certification Requirements

OHS Position: Supports
Status: Approved  by Senate and House. Awaiting Governor's signature.


The bill requires OHS officers to complete additional certifications after they have graduated from the Oregon police academy. OHS supports this bill because it sets high certification standards that are appropriate for the work our investigators perform. 

HB 2470 :   Puppy Protection Act OHS Position: Supports
Status: Signed into law by Gov. Ted Kulongoski on June 17 and in effect Jan. 1


HB 2470 The first hearings on the bill were held Feb. 23 by the House Committee on Consumer Protection. In addition to mandating minimum living conditions, the bill restricts the size of puppy mills to a maximum of 25 sexually intact dogs four months or older. It also protects consumers with a tracking system which give buyers of sick or deformed animals a way to recover damages if the seller did not disclose congenital defects at the time of purchase. Harmon said the law, like to be opposed by many in the puppy breeding industry, sets only minimum standards in response to a history of abuse and fraud by puppy mills in Oregon. “Legitimate breeders should have no trouble complying with what are the barest of minimum standards in this bill.”

Legislative alert: more information here


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SB 280:    Enhances Penalties for Cockfight Spectators


OHS Position: Supports
Status: Approved  by Senate and House. Awaiting Governor's signature.


SB280 makes being a spectator at a cockfight a felony.






SB 299:   No Pets for Animal Offenders / Animal Forfeiture OHS Position: Supports
Status: Passed Senate on April 2; awaiting vote on House floor.


SB 299 would authorize courts to remove any domestic animal from the household of someone who is prohibited from owning animals because of past abuse or neglect. While current law already prohibits offenders from owning domestic animals for five years, a loophole permits the offender to live in the same house with a spouse or friend who owns an animal--perhaps even the animal who was victimized by the offender. This exposes the animal to daily contact with the offender and the possibility of future abuse.


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SB 297:  Increased Penalties for Animal Offenders

OHS Position: Supports
Status: (the provisions of this bill were amended into SB 298)

SB 297 would allow courts to impose a fine of up to $6,500 and one year in jail for unlawful possession of a domestic animal, a substantial increase over the current $1,000 maximum fine and no threat of jail time. This bill puts teeth in the current law that bars abusers from possessing animals for five years. SB 297 also prohibits people who sexually abuse animals from owning animals for five years, closing a loophole in the law.


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SB 298:   Restrictions on Placing Victimized Pets
OHS Position: Supports
Status: Passed Senate and House; awaits Governor's signature.


SB 298 strengthens prohibitions against placing victimized animals back in the household of a convicted offender. The bill specifically bars courts and animal agencies caring for forfeited animals from returning those animals to the household of the offender. In addition, new owners of these animals must sign a contract stating that the pets won’t be in contact with their abusers.


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“We give two ‘paws up’  to the legislators who are the champions of these three measures (SB 297, 298, and 299),” said OHS Executive Director Sharon Harmon. The measures are moving forward thanks to the work of Representative Jeff Barker, D-Aloha; Sen. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Beaverton; Senator Ginny Burdick, D-Portland; and Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem.


SB 398:   Extend Animal Neglect Laws to Cover Abandoned Horses
OHS Position: Supports
Status: Passed Senate and House; awaits Governor's signature.


More horses are being abandoned today in rural areas or never claimed from boarding stables and events such as fairs and rodeos. Unfortunately, Oregon law that prohibits animal abandonment does not provide  protection to equines. This makes it all the more likely that horses will be abandoned because of a dismal

economy and equine overpopulation.


The Oregon Humane Society has rescued abandoned dogs, cats and other animals for over a century. Upon rescue, most are in a diminished capacity, requiring valuable resources to correct a lack of food, handling and suffering from illness or injury.  Animal abandonment is wrong.  SB 398 would clarify current law and support the position of many Oregonians who care and value animals.


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SB 677   Ban on Pit Bulls

OHS Position: Opposed
Status: No action pending


OHS is against this type of breed-specific legislation that would ban an entire breed of dog from Oregon. Broad-brush solutions such as this punish good dogs and good owners along with the bad. If an animal is dangerous, action should be taken in regard to the specific animal.

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HB 2539:   Fireworks Ban

OHS Position: Supports
Status: Passed house, referred to Senate Business and Transportation Committee.


OHS supports HB 2539, which would ban fireworks in the city of Portland.  Animals don't realize that the fireworks are entertainment, not danger. Many animals panic and jump over fences, and some even jump through plate-glass windows to try to escape the terrifying sounds. Lucky animals are reunited with their families, but others are never found. Some animals suffer serious injuries, or they're hit by cars or killed in other ways as they flee.


After fireworks displays, animal shelters report an increase in the number of lost companion animals. Additionally, many local county shelters which are already operating at capacity are often closed during holidays and thanks to declining budgets are woefully understaffed to service the communities’ needs.



HB 2574   Veterinarian Loan Repayment
OHS Position: Supports
Status: Pending
before a House committee.

Creates Veterinarian Loan Repayment Program for certain veterinarians who provide veterinary services in veterinary resource shortage area




HB 2496 Tax Exemptions for Animal Shelters

OHS Position: Supports
Status: No action pending.



Authorizes property tax exemptions for qualified welfare programs that benefit animals.



HB 2529  Animal assault, forfeiture
OHS Position: Supports
Status: Passed the House and Senate; awaiting Governor's signature.

Improves forfeiture protections for abused animals.


HB 2852  Pit Bull Insurance

OHS Position: Opposes
Status: No action pending.


Requires owner of pit bulls to purchase $1 million liability insurance. Changes elements for crime of maintaining dangerous dog.


Although this legislation has some good elements, OHS opposes breed-specific legislation. Broad-brush solutions such as this punish good dogs and good owners along with the bad. For more information about this bill and to sign a petition against it, visit the No On HB2852 Website


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HB 3348  Authorizes OHS Agents to Apply for Search Warrants

OHS Position: Supports
Status: Passed House April 29, 65-2; Passed Senate on May 29
. Now awaiting Governor's signature.


Amends Oregon law to allow special agents commissioned by the Governor (such as OHS Humane Investigators) to apply for search warrants. Currently, only police officers and district attorneys may request that a judge grant a search warrant.


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SB 391:   Exotic Pet Prohibition


OHS Position: Supports
Status: Approved by Senate and House; signed by the Governor.


The recent chimpanzee attack in Connecticut demonstrates the need to prohibit private possession of wild animals such as primates in Oregon. Last month’s incident underscore the public safety and animal welfare issues associated with the private ownership of dangerous wild animals.

OHS is supporting SB 391, introduced by Senators Mark Hass (D-14) and Brian Boquist (R-23) to prohibit private possession of wild animals in the state, including alligators, monkeys, wolves, lions, tigers and bears.

Read the Oregonian's editorial on this legislation.
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Contact your Senator and Representative


Harmon urged Oregonians concerned about animal welfare to contact their elected officials and voice their opinions about the legislation. Although letters and phone calls are most effective, email can also be sent. The Oregon State Legislature Website makes it easy to contact your elected officials with the following tools:



  • Call your legislator at (800) 332-2313 (in Salem call 503/986-1187). The staff answering this number will look up who your legislator is and direct you call to their office.



Be sure to mention the bill numbers listed above in your message. If your reside in a district of one of the four lawmakers mentioned above (Representative Jeff Barker, D-Aloha; Sen. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Beaverton; Senator Ginny Burdick, D-Portland; Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem), please mention your appreciation of their efforts.



To keep informed of future legislation and progress on the above measures , watch this Web page or sign up for the OHS Pet Dish e-newsletter.