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OHS Lauds Oregon Legislature for Passage of Landmark Bill


Heavenly, one of 100 dogs seized from a raid on a rescue group in Brooks earlier this year. The Brooks case rallied animal advocates around the new legislation.  

July 8, 2013: The Oregon Humane Society and animal lovers around the state are applauding Oregon legislators for passing major new legal protections for animals.


The most significant provisions of the SB6, the Omnibus Animal Welfare Bill, passed by both state legislative branches on July 6, include:


  • Grants judges strong new powers to sentence animal offenders to prison.
  • Recognizes the link between animal cruelty and human violence by elevating penalties for any animal crime committed in the presence of a minor or when there are prior convictions for domestic violence.
  • Expands local government oversight of rescue groups, requiring licensing and permitting inspections.
  • Affords new protections to horses and livestock by barring those convicted of animal neglect or abuse from possessing horses and other livestock.


"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," said Sharon Harmon, OHS executive director. Harmon testified many times on behalf of the legislation.


The bill also increases penalties for any crime involving 11 or more pets, 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 measure streamlines the forfeiture and foreclosure process. This will allow animals seized in cruelty cases to be more quickly placed in adoptive homes.


OHS, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Humane Society of the United States, the Oregon Dairyman's Association, the Oregon Farm Bureau and the Oregon Veterinary Medical Association collaborated on the passage of this landmark legislation.


Read the full text of this bill here, plus testimony by OHS.


Dog Tethering, Horse Tripping Bills Passed


In other action, legislators also approved and sent to the Governor new legislation that makes it illegal to chain a dog to a tether all day long. The bill, HB 2783, bars tethering dogs to a stationary line for more than 10 hours in a 24-hour period or more than 15 hours a day if attached to a pulley on a line. The bill includes exemptions for working dogs, for dogs in campgrounds, and when the owner is present. Chronic tethering has been linked to increased dog aggression and animal injuries.


Tethered dogs are commonly associated with complaints such as excessive barking, aggression, biting, running loose, and long term neglect. A coalition of law enforcement officials, veterinarians and animal welfare groups collaborated to address the problems associated with chronically chained dogs.


 “Man’s best friend deserves better than to live on the end of a chain. Chronically-chained dogs are much more likely to be lonely, unsocialized, and therefore cause the overwhelming majority of dog-related problems in communities across our state,” said Sharon Harmon of OHS.


“Animal control and law enforcement officers spend too much of their time dealing with the problem of chained dogs,” says Jim Dohr of the City of Albany Police Department. “This new measure will provide officers with a valuable tool to help families become better, more responsible pet owners. This is a benefit for both animal welfare and public safety resources.”


OHS also cheered the passage of SB 835, which bans equine tripping in Oregon rodeos.  The practice involves the use of a rope to bring down a moving horse, and is already banned in many states as it constitutes a serious danger—from broken bones to spinal damage—to the health of the horse. The new law applies strictly to rodeo and entertainment events.


Read more about these bills here.