New animal abuse laws considered in Ore.

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by Tim Gordon, KGW Staff

NWCN.com

Posted on February 13, 2013 at 6:50 PM

Updated Thursday, Feb 14 at 10:07 AM

PORTLAND – Many of the dogs rescued from deplorable conditions at a Marion County warehouse went up for adoption Wednesday, as advocates try to create a legal means to keep big animal neglect situations from happening in the first place.

Seventy of the 120 dogs recovering for the past month at the Oregon Humane Society went up for adoption on Wednesday.

At least a dozen dogs were adopted the first day, and OHS expects it to be busy with potential adoptive families for several days to come.

Photos: OHS dogs up for adoption Wednesday

In the meantime, its leaders are working with lawmakers to create a felony charge for animal neglect involving ten or more animals.

“When you are dealing with multiples of animals to this degree, we need to look at it as a different crime, and we have to take it seriously. Ten animals or more should be elevated to a felony,” said OHS Executive Director Sharon Harmon.

Harmon says the real difference will be made post-conviction, in terms of the time required to pass before a convicted offender can again own pets.

“In Oregon, for a misdemeanor violation, it is five years' prohibition for owning domestic animals and for a felony it’s 15 years (and) you are out of the business,” said Harmon.

So far, the plan for a felony charge is still being formed into legislation, but Harmon said she expects it to get a vote this session.

People at OHS to adopt a dog seem to agree with the push for tougher penalties and restrictions for offenders. And they hope the best for all the dogs being nursed back to better health.

“I wish I could take them all home. You see a dog hurting and abused and neglected and it just breaks your heart, so yes I would take them all home if I could,” said Janet Mcquisten, who took home the first dog adopted on Wednesday.

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