Oregon

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Titlesort descending Summary
State v. Hartrampf


Defendant appealed a conviction for attempted involvement in animal fighting, arguing that the statutes at issue were unconstitutionally vague.  Since the defendant admitted he knowingly was among spectators at farm hosting a cockfighting event, the Court of Appeals held that a person of common intelligence could discern that defendant's conduct constituted a substantial step toward involvement in animal fighting.

State v. Hershey In this Oregon case, defendant appeals his conviction of first-degree animal neglect. Specifically, defendant argues the denial of his motion to suppress evidence was erroneous. The evidence was obtained when the local sheriff (Glerup) entered defendant's property to administer emergency aid to defendant's cattle. During testimony in the motion to suppress, Glerup testified that he first received a call from defendant's neighbors who reported that the cattle appeared to be "starving." That neighbor even called defendant, who assured her that the cattle "were okay" and being cared for by a hired person. Sheriff Glerup called that individual who stated he had not been hired and defendant had been gone a week. The sheriff subsequently received a call that the cattle were in need of immediate aid and in poor condition. These conditions prompted the warrantless search. On appeal, defendant argues that the trial court erroneously denied his motion to suppress where the state failed to establish that the warrantless entry was justified under an exception to the warrant requirement. In doing so, defendant contends that the case establishing that the emergency aid doctrine applies to animals (Fessenden) was wrongly decided. This argument was dispensed by the court because it was not properly preserved at trial. Alternatively, defendant argues that the state failed to satisfy the requirements for the emergency aid exception. In reviewing defendant's claim, the court noted that in Fessenden, the emergency aid doctrine justifies warrantless activity, “when law enforcement officers have an objectively reasonable belief, based on articulable facts, that the search or seizure is necessary to render immediate aid or assistance to animals . . ." In this case, the court found that the officer's belief that immediate aid was necessary where the cattle appeared to be "near death" was reasonable. Thus, the trial court did not err when it denied defendant's motion to suppress; defendant's conviction was affirmed.
State v. Johnson


A defendant was convicted in district court of violating a city ordinance by keeping a vicious dog.  The Court of Appeals held that the word "trespasser" in the city ordinance was to be used in its ordinary context, that a child who rode his bicycle onto the defendant's driveway was a trespasser, that there were no issues of consent involved, and that the trespasser exception applied even to areas on the defendant's property where the dog was not under the owner's control.

State v. Kelso


Appeal from a district court decision relating to mental state requirements of an animal owner.  The Court of Appeals reversed a district court finding which required a higher mental state than negligence in violation of a statute which provides that the owner or custodian of an animal or livestock shall not "permit" animal to run at large. The Court of Appeals found that the offense does not require a culpable mental state.

State v. Newcomb
State v. Nix

Upon receiving a tip that animals were being neglected, police entered a farm and discovered several emaciated animals, as well as many rotting animal carcasses. After a jury found the defendant guilty of 20 counts of second degree animal neglect, the district court, at the sentencing hearing, only issued a single conviction towards the defendant. The state appealed and argued the court should have imposed 20 separate convictions based on its interpretation of the word "victims" in ORS 161.067(2). The appeals court agreed. The case was remanded for entry of separate convictions on each guilty verdict. 
State v. Nix In this criminal case, defendant was found guilty of 20 counts of second-degree animal neglect. Oregon's “anti-merger” statute provides that, when the same conduct or criminal episode violates only one statute, but involves more than one “victim,” there are “as many separately punishable offenses as there are victims.” The issue in this case is whether defendant is guilty of 20 separately punishable offenses, which turns on the question whether animals are “victims” for the purposes of the anti-merger statute. The trial court concluded that, because only people can be victims within the meaning of that statute, defendant had committed only one punishable offense. The court merged the 20 counts into a single conviction for second-degree animal neglect. On appeal, the Court of Appeals concluded that animals can be victims within the meaning of the anti-merger statute and, accordingly, reversed and remanded for entry of a judgment of conviction on each of the 20 counts and for resentencing. The Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeals and affirmed. Thus, in Oregon, for the purposes of the anti-merger statute, an animal, rather than the public or an animal owner, is a “victim” of crime of second-degree animal neglect.
State v. Pinard


In this Oregon case, Defendant shot his neighbor's dog with a razor-bladed hunting arrow. The neighbor euthanized the dog after determining that the dog would not survive the trip to the veterinarian. Defendant was convicted of one count of aggravated first-degree animal abuse under ORS 167.322 (Count 1) and two counts of first-degree animal abuse under ORS 167.320 (Counts 3 and 4). On appeal, Defendant contends that he was entitled to acquittal on Counts 1 and 4 because there was no evidence that the dog would have survived the wound. The court here disagreed, finding "ample evidence" from which a trier of fact could have found that the arrow fatally wounded the dog. As to Defendant's other issues the the merging of the various counts, the accepted one argument that Counts 3 and 4 should have merged, and reversed and remanded for entry of a single conviction for first-degree animal abuse.

State v. Silver

In this case, the defendant was found guilty on multiple counts of animal abuse after failing to provide minimally adequate care for his herd of alpacas. The defendant was charged with a felony count (Count 1) and a misdemeanor count (Count 6) of first-degree animal abuse. On appeal, the defendant argued that the trial court erred by not merging the multiple guilty verdicts into a single conviction. The state agreed that the trial court did err in its decision not to merge the verdicts; however, the state argued that the mistake should not require resentencing. The defendant argued that the court should follow its previous decisions and order a remand for resentencing. Ultimately, the court remanded the case for resentencing under ORS 138.222(5)(b). The state argued that language of ORS 138.222(5)(b) should be interpreted not to include merger errors. The court disagreed with this argument and relied on its decision in previous cases that interpreted the language of the statute more broadly. Additionally, the court held that if the state’s disapproval of the ORS 138.222(5)(b) is something that should be dealt with by the legislature and not the court. 

State v. Wright Defendant was convicted of four counts of aggravated animal abuse in the first degree after he drowned all six cats that lived with him in a water-filled trash can. On appeal, defendant challenged the exclusion of evidence that he had an intellectual disability and that he had a character for gentleness toward animals. Defendant asserts such evidence would have shown he did not act with the requisite malicious intent that the state was was required to prove. It would have been relevant in demonstrating his mental state when committing the offenses, according to defendant. The appellate court found that the lower court did not err with regard to excluding defendant's reference to an intellectual disability. The testimony at trial describing his "intellectual disability" was more of a general reference and not relevant to his mental state. On the issue of character evidence of defendant's gentleness toward animals, the appellate assumed the lower court erred because the state conceded it was harmless error in its brief. In agreeing with the state that the error was harmless, the court found any further evidence would have been cumulative because other testimony spoke to defendant's gentle character toward animals. The matter was remanded for resentencing due to errors in sentencing.

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