Oregon’s Proposed Anti-Hoarding Law

Animal_Hoarding_t400Oregon Senate Bill 6 has been approved by the state legislature and has been sent to Gov. John Kitzhaber for his signature. S.B. 6 will increase penalties for some animal cruelty offenses and further limit access to animals by offenders. The bill’s most controversial provisions are, however, the requirements placed on animal rescues.

S.B. 6 defines “animal rescue entity” as “an individual or organization, including but not limited to an animal control agency, humane society, animal shelter, animal sanctuary or boarding kennel…, but excluding a veterinary facility, that keeps, houses, and maintains in its custody 10 or more animals and that solicits or accepts donations in any form.” Under the bill all animal rescues and which includes animal control and public shelters must be licensed each year. Each such person or organization would be required to maintain records for each animal that state:

(A) The date of birth for the animal or, if the date of birth is unknown, the approximate age of the animal;
(B) The date the animal rescue entity acquired possession, control or charge of the animal and the source of the animal;
(C) The number of offspring the animal produced while in the possession or control of the animal rescue entity, if applicable;
(D) The disposition the animal rescue entity makes of each animal possessed by, controlled by or in the charge of the animal rescue entity, including the date of disposition, manner of disposition and the name and address for any individual or organization taking possession, control or charge of an animal;
(E) The source of the animal, date of acquisition, age, sex, breed type and weight of the animal at intake.

The entity must maintain a photo of each animal taken within 24 hours of intake.

Under the bill each person or entity is subject to periodic inspections including of records and must “furnish reports and information required by the enforcing agency”. The “enforcing agency” will be the dog licensing and control program in the city or county or if there is none, then an agency designated by the local government.

The bill would require that complaints about the animal rescue entity that are made to state agencies must be sent on to the enforcing agency. The enforcing agency would be required to conduct inspections if there has been a “credible and serous” complaint. Otherwise, the enforcing agency could conduct inspections at reasonable times. No license could be renewed unless the person or organization is in compliance. The enforcing agency would be required to seize evidence of animal cruelty violations and report it to law enforcement.

The annual licensing fee would be $100. The enforcing agency can impose civil penalties up to $500 per violation and also impound animals and revoke licenses. The enforcing agency must allow for notice, a hearing and judicial review of enforcement actions.

It is not clear this new proposed law will have much impact in improving local animal control or public shelters. After all, the city or county would be responsible for enforcing these requirements against its own animal control or shelter. The greatest impact is likely to be on private animal rescues. The legislation was prompted by a raid in January, 2013 on Willamette Valley Animal Rescue in Brooks, Oregon where 149 dogs were seized and the operator, Alicia Inglish, was charged with 120 counts of animal neglect and one count of evidence tampering. It is hoped this bill, if signed into law, will serve to prevent such hoarding and cruel neglect.

Foreclosure on Liens

The bill also provides a more streamlined process for foreclosure on liens for the cost of care and treatment for impounded animals. This will mean ownership of impounded animals can be forfeited and the animals adopted much sooner. This will ease the burden on local shelters that take in animals seized in abuse and neglect cases. It also means less time in shelters for impounded animals.

Increased Penalties for Animal Cruelty

S.B. 6 raises penalties for animal cruelty and, in particular, in cases of animal neglect in the second or first degree. Both crimes would be a felony for repeat offenders, cases involving more than 10 animals, and those who have a previous conviction for a domestic violence offense and commit the animal neglect in the immediate presence of a minor child.

Prohibitions on Owning Animals

Also, animal abusers would be barred from possessing not only a domestic animal for five years but also any animal of the same genus that was involved in the abuse. Some exceptions were created, however, to the ban on owning animals for those convicted of animal cruelty or neglect. The ban would not apply to a person’s first conviction if the person is the owner of a commercial livestock operation and the underlying violation was committed against livestock.

Also, under the bill a person subject to the ban may file a motion with the sentencing court requesting a waiver of the prohibition as to livestock. The grounds for waiver include:

(A) The person’s conviction leading to the possession prohibition involved only livestock;
(B) During the two years before the conviction triggering the prohibition, the person was the owner of a commercial livestock operation;
(C) The person has not been convicted, in the previous five years, of a crime involving animals or domestic violence or a crime where the victim was under 18 years of age; and
(D) The person’s conviction was the result of:
(i) Criminal liability for the conduct of another person;
(ii) Criminal liability of a corporation; or
(iii) Animal neglect and the person’s criminal conduct was not knowing or intentional.

Upon the filing of a motion and affidavit, the sentencing court shall hold a hearing. At the hearing, the sentencing court shall grant the motion if the person proves by clear and convincing evidence that:
(A) Continued enforcement of the prohibition against possessing livestock would result in substantial economic hardship that cannot otherwise be mitigated;
(B) The person no longer poses any risk to animals; and
(C) The person is capable of providing and willing to provide necessary, adequate and appropriate levels of care for all livestock that would come within the person’s custody or control if the petition is granted.

The sentencing court may consider the person’s financial circumstances and mental health in determining whether the person is capable of adequately caring for livestock.

Under the bill the sentencing court shall further order that for five years the person must consent to reasonable inspections by law enforcement and the United States Department of Agriculture. A refusal to consent to a reasonable inspection described is contempt of court and, if the person is found in contempt, shall result in the sentencing court revoking the waiver of the possession prohibition.

Oregon Horse Tripping Bill Now Law!

Horse tripping.roping legsUpdate July 1, 2013: Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has now signed S.B. 835, a ban on horse tripping, into law. For more on this important legislation, read Animal Law Coalition’s reports below.

Update June 26, 2013: The Oregon House of Representatives has voted 57-1 to ban horse tripping. The vote means S.B. 835 is one step closer to becoming law. The bill now goes to Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber for his signature. For more on this bill, read Animal Law Coalition’s report below and go here for ALC’s role in passing this important bill for the horses.

Update June 20, 2013: The Oregon House of Representatives Rules Committee has passed the horse tripping bill, S.B. 835. The bill was referred to the Rules Committee after the Judiciary Committee decided not to make a decision about the bill.

It’s on to a vote by the full House of Representatives. A vote is expected next week. Read Animal Law Coalition’s original report below for more on the bill and how you can contact your Oregon state rep to urge him/her to vote yes on S.B. 835!

Original report: The Oregon horse tripping bill, S.B. 835, would make it a Class B misdemeanor to intentionally cause “an equine to trip or fall, or rope[] or lasso[] the legs of an equine, for purposes of a rodeo, contest, exhibition, entertainment or sport or as practice for” such events.

Opponents are pushing for an amendment that would allow a horse’s front legs to be roped if the neck is roped first. This is exactly what S.B. 835 would ban! The members of the committee and their contact information are listed below. Please help stop an amendment that would make the bill pointless. Please contact the Committee members and urge them to vote NO on any amendment that may be proposed to SB 835 that would allow the front legs of a horse to be roped if the neck is roped first. Urge committee members to pass S.B. 835 AS IS. The committee is considering this bill NOW so please don’t wait to voice your support for S.B. 835 WITHOUT AN AMENDMENT THAT WOULD ALLOW HORSE TRIPPING IF THE HORSE IS ROPED AROUND THE NECK FIRST. Here is a horse roped around the neck and legs at the 2012 “Big Loop” rodeo. The organization, Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) obtained the photo. It is hardly less cruel. As the photo demonstrates, even if a horse is roped around the neck first, roping the front legs still causes the horse to trip and crash head-first into the dirt.

Horse tripping SHARK.2012 SHARK volunteer, Adam Fahnestock, from Vancouver, WA, was actually arrested by Malheur County, OR sheriff’s deputies for filming this and other horse tripping at the 2013 Jordan Valley “Big Loop” rodeo. He was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and later released on $1,000 bond. Sheriff’s deputies approached him and told him to stop filming and he refused. There was a scuffle as Fahnestock tried to protect his camera and he was handcuffed. The rodeo was on private property, but a number of people were filming or taking photographs. Here is more video of the 2013 rodeo. Only Fahnestock was singled out. Later that day, Steve Hindi, founder of SHARK, was stopped by a sheriff’s deputies as he was driving away from the rodeo where he was ejected from the rodeo for having a camera. The traffic stop was purportedly because Hindi allegedly failed to show ID at the rodeo.

Last year Animal Law Coalition’s Russ Mead was surrounded and threatened at the Harney County, OR rodeo as he tried to photograph horse tripping events there.Watch the video: http://animallawcoalition.com/oregon-horse-tripping-exposed/

Horse tripping is an event that originated in Mexican rodeos called charreadas, Horses are lassoed around the front legs, and the rope is then pulled back, causing the horse to trip forward and smash full-force into the ground.

Rodeos in the U.S. follow variations of this practice. At the Jordan Valley Big Loop rodeo in Oregon, the horses are roped around the neck and then the legs and slammed to the ground. The result is the same: The horse is tripped or slammed to the ground in a terrifying and painful ordeal.

Most recently Arizona outlawed the cruel practice in 2009, A.R.S. § 13-2910.09 and Nebraska in 2008, R.R.S. Neb. § 54-911. Horse tripping or roping is also illegal in New Mexico, N.M. Stat. § 30-18-11; Oklahoma, 21 Okl. St. § 1700; California, Cal Penal Code 597g; Florida, Fl. Stat. Sec. 828.12; Illinois, 510 ILCS 70/5.01; Maine, 7 M.R.S. § 3972; Texas, Tex. Penal Code § 42.09; and Rhode Island, R.I. Gen. Laws § 4-20-4. In some states the practice is exempt from animal cruelty laws as a rodeo event and so must be specifically prohibited by law. For more on exemptions from animal cruelty laws for rodeo events….   

In fact, charrerdas banned horse tripping in the US years ago. Ramiro Rodriguez, President of the American Charrerdas Association, wrote, “The charros in the US do not trip the horses when they do manganas in any competition, whoever trips a horse (intentionally) is suspended for a whole year.”

Tripped horses typically suffer serious injuries, from broken bones to spinal damage, sometimes dying as a result. Those who survive are usually so psychologically traumatized that they cannot even look at a rope without becoming terrified.

Oregon state Senators Mark Hass and Bill Hansell introduced the bill which passed the state senate by a vote of 22-6.  The bill has now moved to the state House of Representatives where a hearing was held on May 13, 2013 by the Judiciary Committee.  At the May 13, 2013 hearing, Animal Law Coalition’s Russ Mead disputed testimony that horse tripping or roping does not occur at rodeos in Oregon. Mead went to the Harney County Rodeo in Burns, Oregon on July 7, 2012 and obtained photographs of horse tripping and roping taking place as rodeo events.

A cowboy still wearing his spurs came from Central Oregon to testify and told committee members, “There’s no reason to trip a horse.”

Previously, SHARK, Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, obtained video of horse tripping at the 2012 Big Loop Rodeo.


Find your Oregon state representative here. Call or write (letters or faxes are best) your state rep and urge him or her to vote YES on S.B. 835 and end the cruel practice of horse tripping in Oregon.

Reps. David Gomberg and Sara Gelser are House sponsors of the bill.

ALC Undercover Photos Help Pass Horses Tripping Ban

Update July 1, 2013: Gov. John Kitzhaber has now signed S.B. 835.
Original report: On June 25th 2013 the Oregon House joined the Oregon Senate and passed a ban on the rodeo event of horse tripping. It’s now up to Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber to sign the bill, S.B. 835, into law.

Animal Law Coalition has been fighting to end this cruel fringe rodeo event. Horse tripping involves rodeo cowboys roping the front legs of horses, bringing them crashing to the ground. Tripped horses often suffer serious injuries, from broken bones to spinal damage, sometimes dying as a result. Those who survive are usually so psychologically traumatized that they cannot even look at a rope without becoming terrified.

In the last Oregon legislative session opponents of the bill persuaded lawmakers that this event was not taking place in Oregon. We heard arguments that it was a waste of legislative effort to ban a practice that did not exist. Horse tripping does exist in Oregon and Animal Law Coalition set out to prove it. Animal Law Coalition’s Russ Mead went to the Harney County Rodeo in Burns, Oregon on July 7, 2012 and obtained photographs of the event showing horses being slammed to the ground. This was not easy, as rodeo organizers did everything possible to stop Animal Law Coalition from taking these photos.

Animal Law Coalition showed this evidence at both the Oregon House and Senate committee hearings in this legislative session. The graphic photos showed the horses being choked by neck while a second mounted rider roped the horses front legs, bringing the horse to the ground. A cowboy still wearing his spurs came from Central Oregon to testify and told committee members, “There’s no reason to trip a horse.”

For more on this bill…..

OR Anti-Tethering Bill Signed into Law

chained dog.big stock.2Update June 14, 2013: H.B. 2783 easily passed the Oregon state senate and has now been signed into law by Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber! Oregon joins California, Nevada, Texas and Delaware in limiting the hours a dog can be chained each day. For more on the trend by local governments as well to limit chaining, go here. For more on the new Oregon law, read Animal Law Coalition’s earlier report below.

Original report: Oregon bill, H.B. 2783, passed the House of Representatives in April by a vote of 45-14 and has now cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee!

H.B. 2783 would make unlawful tethering of a domestic animal a crime punishable by a fine up to $1,000. If the animal suffers serious injury or death as a result of tethering, the crime charged would be animal neglect in the first degree, a Class A misdemeanor. If the animal sustains physical injury as a result of tethering, the crime charged would be animal neglect in the second degree, a Class B misdemeanor.

Unlawful tethering means (1) using a tether that is not a reasonable length given the size of the animal and space and that allows the animal to become entangled in a manner that risks the health or safety of the animal. (2) using a collar that pinches or chokes when pulled. (3) tethers the animal for more than 10 hours in a 24 hour period or for more than 15 hours in a 24 hour period if the tether is attached to a running line, pulley or trolley system.

These provisions do not apply if the owner or person in control of the animal remains in his/her physical presence while he/she is tethered. There are exceptions for campgrounds, recreation areas, transport of the animal, and licensed activities such as hunting. Dogs used for herding, protecting livestock or sledding are exempt.

Notably, the bill would also strengthen and clarify the requirements for adequate shelter. ‘Adequate shelter’ includes a barn, dog house or other enclosed structure sufficient to protect a domestic animal from wind, rain, snow or sun, that has adequate bedding to protect against cold and dampness and that is maintained to protect the domestic animal from weather and physical injury. The bill specifies what is NOT “adequate shelter”: crawl spaces, space under a vehicle, inside of a vehicle if the animal is kept there for a length of time likely to be detrimental to the animal’s health or safety; shelters made from cardboard or other materials easily degraded by weather, carriers or crates designed for temporary housing, shelters with wire or chain-link floors, or shelters surrounded by waste, debris, or other obstructions that could adversely affect the animal’s health.

Under the bill adequate bedding means bedding of sufficient quantity and quality to permit a domestic animal to remain dry and reasonably clean and maintain a normal body temperature.

A failure to provide adequate shelter that results in physical injury to the animal is a crime of animal neglect in the second degree. If the animal suffers severe injury or death as a result of inadequate shelter, the crime would be animal neglect in the first degree. A dog engaged in herding or protecting livestock is exempt under current law.

This bill is sponsored by Rep. Brad Witt (D-Clatskanie), and is the work of local law enforcement agencies and several organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, Oregon Humane Society, Fences For Fido, and the Oregon Animal Council.

If you live in Oregon, find your state senator here. Call or write (letters or faxes are best) and urge your senator to vote YES on H.B. 2783 and protect animals from cruel tethering and lack of shelter from the elements.