May 20, 2009
The HSUS Urges Gov. Kulongoski to Make Horse Abandonment a Crime
SALEM, Ore. — The Humane Society of the United States applauds the Oregon House of Representatives for passing a bill that adds horses and other equines to the animal abandonment statute. The HSUS now urges Gov. Ted Kulongoski to sign the bill into law. Originally sponsored by Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, and carried to the Senate floor by Sen. Doug Whitsett, R-Klamath Falls, S.B. 398 makes abandoning an equine a Class B misdemeanor. The bill passed the House and was sent to the governor by a vote of 59 to 1. The bill was carried in the House by Rep. Jefferson Smith, D-Portland, District 47.
"Abandoning a horse is no less cruel and should be no less a crime than abandoning a cat or dog, and The Humane Society of the United States thanks the Oregon House and Senate for passing this important piece of legislation," said Scott Beckstead, The HSUS' senior state director for Oregon. "For people who can no longer care for their horse, there are many alternatives to abandoning them. The Humane Society of the United States is grateful to the Oregon Legislature for passing this important legislation to protect our equine companions, and we ask Governor Kulongoski to sign it into law."
- 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, does not change their status as "livestock," but it will 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.
- SB 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.
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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.