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Oregon Senate Votes to Make Horse Abandonment a Crime

The Humane Society of the United States

SALEM, Ore. — The Humane Society of the United States applauded the Oregon state Senate for passing Senate Bill 398, adding horses and other equines to the animal abandonment statute.  The bill, originally sponsored by Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, and carried to the Senate floor by Sen. Doug Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls, makes abandoning an equine a Class B misdemeanor. The bill passed the Senate by a vote of 27 to 2. 

"People need to know that there are alternatives to abandoning horses, and more importantly, that there are important legal consequences for doing so," said Scott Beckstead, The HSUS' senior state director for Oregon. "Abandoning horses creates a hardship for other property owners, law enforcement and the taxpayers. And of course, it's a terrible thing to do to an equine companion who depends on the care of people to survive. Senate Bill 398 sends a strong message of deterrence to those who would engage in this kind of irresponsibility and The Humane Society of the United States is grateful to the Oregon Senate for taking this important step to protect our equine companions."

Under Oregon law, it is a crime to abandon some animals, but horses are defined as "livestock," which are excluded. Adding equines to the existing statute will close that loophole and hold horse owners accountable for neglect and abandonment.

Struggling horse owners do not need resort to abandonment to solve their problems. Rescue groups, online adoption programs, lease arrangements, and even humane euthanasia are all responsible alternatives to horse abandonment. The Oregon Horse Welfare Council, a group comprised of rescue organizations, breed groups, state and local agencies and concerned horsepeople, has created programs throughout the state to provide hay assistance, temporary foster homes and other programs to help horse owners in need.

S.B. 398 was sponsored by Sens. Floyd Prozanski, D-South Lane, Joanne Verger, D-Coos Bay, and Vicki Walker, D-Eugene; and Reps. Jean Cowan, D - Newport, Kim Thatcher, R-Keizer, Jeff Barker, D-Aloha, Vicki Berger, R-Salem, Arnie Roblan, D-Coos Bay, Tim Freeman, R-Roseburg, and Vic Gilliam, R-Molalla. 


The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.