Huzzah for the Humane Society and the Oregon State Senate! With the urging of the Humane Society, the state senate passed a bill yesterday that makes it a crime to abandon a horse.
It's only a small crime (a class B misdemeanor) but it's still a crime, as it should be. I've blogged earlier about the weak economy not just throwing people out of work, but forcing them to give them up or, one might surmise, using the loss of a job as an excuse to abandon animals for which they no longer had any use. The New York Times and other major media have covered the story as well.
I've heard stories from fellow members of the equine-lovers community of developments out west plagued by high numbers of mortgage defaults. People who lose homes where they keep their horses just up and left all kinds of animals, including horses, behind and abandoned. That's inexcusable!
Besides, there are plenty of alternatives to abandonment for horse owners:
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 will close that loophole and 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.
Let's hope other states follow suit and enact similar laws.
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