Late August the Oregon Supreme Court passed a ruling that changes how animals are treated under state law. Now, any animal can be seen as a legal victim in a case, and this gives animals more protection against abuse.
For a pet lover, it’s evident that each pet is an individual. Up until now, the law has seen them as property. The new ruling means, for instance, that if a person abuses 20 animals he or she can now be sentenced on 20 counts instead of just one – each individual animal is a separate victim. This can, in turn, result in longer sentences and make it more difficult for abusers to expunge these convictions from criminal records.
The ruling also makes it easier for law enforcement to help animals in danger – if an animal is “property” an officer would need a warrant to step onto private property and for instance take the animal to a veterinarian. Getting a warrant can take four to eight hours, and that is enough time for an abused animal to die.
2014 has seen some great steps in the right direction for animal rights. Hopefully, the trend will continue until they are all protected.