Oregon

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Titlesort descending Summary
Spencer Creek Pollution Control Ass'n v. Organic Fertilizer Co.


This is a nuisance case involving the operation of a cattle feed lot.  Plaintiff sued to enjoin feed lot operators from interfering with use and enjoyment of plaintiffs' property asked for damages. The circuit court rendered judgment and defendant appealed. The Supreme Court held that decree limiting defendants to having no more than 600 head of cattle on its feed lot at one time was reasonable.

Sprague v. Magruder Farms, Inc.


This is an appeal from a circuit court decision where the appellant claimed error for failure to grant a nonsuit and directed verdict in a case involving livestock running at large.  Plaintiff brought suit under a state statute which provides that an livestock owner shall not permit an animal to run at large or go on the land of another.  The Court of Appeals held that the defendant permitted its cattle to run at large, the plaintiff's oat fields were the lands of another according to the statute, and that the plaintiff's loss was satisfactorily established.

State v. Borowski


Defendants were convicted of interfering with agricultural operations under the anti-picketing provision of a criminal statute. The Court of Appeals held that the anti-picketing provision was not facially over-broad under the free speech or free assembly provision of State Constitution. The provision, which imposed criminal penalties on people engaged in picketing but created an exception for those involved in a labor protest, did not violate the privileges and immunities clause of the State Constitution, but it did violate equal protection rights under the U.S. Constitution. The statutory presumption of severability did not apply in this case.

State v. Branstetter


In a state prosecution for animal neglect, the trial court ordered forfeiture of the animals to a humane agency. An appeal by the owner of the animals was dismissed by the Court of Appeals for lack of jurisdiction. The Oregon Supreme Court reversed the lower courts and held that the statutes controlling appealable judgments allowed the animal owner to appeal the forfeiture of the animals.

State v. Crosswhite After being tipped off about a dog fight, authorities seized several dogs from a home. Defendant was charged with one count of second-degree animal abuse and four counts of second-degree animal neglect. After the presentation of the state's evidence in circuit court, defendant moved for a judgment of acquittal on all counts, arguing, as to second-degree animal neglect, that the state had failed to present sufficient evidence from which a jury could conclude that defendant had custody or control over the dogs. Circuit court denied the motion and defendant was convicted on all counts. Defendant appealed the denial of the motion, again arguing that the state failed to prove that he had “custody or control” over the dogs. The appeals court concluded that the plain text and context of ORS 167.325(1), together with the legislature's use of the same term in a similar statute, demonstrated that the legislature intended the term “control” to include someone who had the authority to guide or manage an animal or who directed or restrained the animal, regardless if the person owned the animal. Given the facts of the case, the court concluded that based on that evidence, a reasonable juror could find that defendant had control over the dogs, and the trial court had not erred in denying defendant’s motion for judgment of acquittal.
State v. Crow This Oregon case discusses whether 11 miniature horses, multiple cats, and a dog are separate victims for purposes of merger into one conviction. Defendant appeals a judgment of conviction for 13 counts of unlawful possession of an animal by a person previously convicted of second-degree animal neglect. The facts are not at issue: Defendant was previously convicted of multiple counts of second-degree animal neglect involving dogs and miniature horses and was subsequently found to be in possession of those animals. On appeal, defendant's primary argument is that "the public is the single collective victim" for purposes of the violation, so the trial court erred in entering 13 separate convictions for unlawful possession of an animal. In support, defendant analogizes it to unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, where the public is deemed the collective victim for purposes of merger. The State counters with the fact animals are living beings, unlike firearms, and that living beings can be victims of crimes. Further, the State contends that the language of ORS 161.067(2) and legislative history demonstrate an intent to protect individual animal victims. The court found that the text of statute shows an intent to protect individual animals of the same genus as previous crimes rather than protection of the public, generally. The court was not persuaded by defendant's contention that established links between animal cruelty and domestic violence show that the legislature intended to protect the public rather than individual animals when it enacted ORS 167.332(1). Legislative testimony for amendments to ORS 167.332 from animal experts detailed how difficult it was for judges to impose bans on possession before the passage of the amendment due to the way the law was previously written. Thus, the court concluded that the principal purpose of ORS 167.332(1) was to protect individual animals from further abuse and neglect, and to deter animal abuse and neglect where those individuals convicted show "an identifiable threat to a particular genus of animal." Here, in defendant's case, the trial court did not err when it entered 13 separate convictions for unlawful possession of an animal. Affirmed.
State v. Dan


This is an appeal of a circuit court decision in an aggravated animal abuse case.  A defendant was convicted in circuit court of aggravated animal abuse and other charges. On appeal, the Court of Appeals held that the defendant's testimony that he loved his children more than the dog he shot was not evidence of his character, thus the evidence offered by the state in rebuttal (that the defendant assaulted his spouse) was not admissible and not harmless error by the trial court.

State v. Dicke


This case is the companion case to State v. Fessenden,258 Or. App. 639, 310 P.3d 1163 (2013) review allowed, 354 Or. 597, 318 P.3d 749 (2013) and aff'd, 355 Or. 759, 333 P.3d 278 (2014). Defendant was convicted of first-degree animal abuse, ORS 167.320, in association with having allowed her horse to become so severely emaciated that it was at imminent risk of dying. On appeal, defendant challenged the trial court's denial of her motion to suppress evidence obtained through a warrantless search of the horse. In affirming the lower court, this court found that the warrant exception that allows officers to assist seriously injured people extends to animals under certain circumstances. Citing Fessenden, this court found that a warrantless seizure will be valid when officers have "objectively reasonable belief, based on articulable facts, that the search or seizure is necessary to render immediate aid or assistance to animals that have suffered, or which are imminently threatened with suffering . . ."

State v. Fessenden


This Oregon case considers, as an issue of first impression, whether the emergency aid exception to the warrant requirement applies to animals in need of immediate assistance. Defendant appealed her conviction for second-degree animal neglect (ORS 167.325) based on the condition of her horse. The court found that the emergency aid exception extends to nonhuman animals when law enforcement officers have an objectively reasonable belief that the search or seizure is necessary to render immediate aid or assistance to animals which are imminently threatened with suffering, serious physical injury or cruel death. Here, the deputy sheriff found that the horse was more emaciated than any other horse he had ever seen and there were signs of possible organ failure.

State v. Goodall


This case involved an appeal from this conviction. The trial court found that the defendant rode the animal while it had a deep ulcerated cut on its back, and supplied it with insufficient food. The Oregon Supreme Court affirmed the conviction.

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