An Act Relating to Animal Cruelty and Declaring an Emergency (Oregon)
Bill would allocate state budget funds for a special prosecutor focused on animal cruelty cases, based in the state attorney general’s office with jurisdiction throughout Oregon.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund supports this bill.
Sponsor: State Sen. James Manning (D-7)
Introduced: January 9, 2023
Cases involving animal abuse or neglect often present unique legal issues for those working to enforce animal cruelty laws and bring justice for animal victims. Many prosecutors are hesitant to bring these cases because of the inherent complexities involved — but without proper enforcement, animal cruelty statutes can’t effectively protect animals.
In 2013, the Animal Legal Defense Fund provided funding that enabled Oregon to become the first U.S. state with a special prosecutor dedicated to pursuing animal-related cases: the Animal Cruelty Deputy District Attorney (AC-DDA). (The Animal Legal Defense Fund does not employ the AC-DDA or have any authority over their work.) In the years since this position was created, Oregon’s AC-DDA has prosecuted more than 250 animal cruelty cases and consulted with prosecutors on an additional 350 cases.
An Act Relating to Animal Cruelty and Declaring an Emergency (S.B. 696) would:
- allocate funds from the state budget to maintain the AC-DDA role and make it a permanent program in Oregon.
Why is this legislation important? Laws are only as good as their enforcement, but animal cruelty cases can present special challenges for prosecutors — such as the fact that an animal may simultaneously be the victim of cruelty and living evidence of the abuse she suffered. Additionally, these cases may involve large numbers of animals — creating complex and resource-consuming prosecutions — and can involve multiple agencies, such as law enforcement authorities, animal control agencies, and humane societies. The AC-DDA has the specialized training and experience necessary to effectively and efficiently navigate the complexities of these cases to bring justice for animal victims and help prevent future cruelty. An Act Relating to Animal Cruelty and Declaring an Emergency would ensure that Oregonians’ humane values are reflected through effective enforcement of state animal protection laws.
Coalition support: Oregon Humane Society
For more information about Oregon’s anti-cruelty laws and opportunities to take action for animals in the state, visit aldf.org/oregon.