Landmark US court rulings see animal legally considered victims of crime
One ruling was connected with a man who starved 20 animals
A US court has passed two landmark rulings in which animals were given the same basic rights as humans.
Lawmakers in the state of Oregon hope the moves will make it easier for police officers to help animals in danger, and could see people who abuse or neglect animals face harsher punishments.
It could also make it harder for defendants to expunge convictions from their criminal records years later, The Oregonian reported.
“These are hugely helpful to the prosecution of animal-cruelty cases,” Jacob Kamins, a prosecutor assigned to pursuing animal cases across Oregon, told the newspaper.
In both cases, defendants had argued that state laws define animals as the property of their owners.
In one case dating back to 2009, the supreme court ruled that a man from Umatilla County who starved 20 horses and goats on his property should be sentenced in a way which regarded each animal as a “victim”.
Prior to the ruling, defendant Arnold Nix argued that the law defines animals as the “non-human” property of their owners, so the word “victim” would not apply.
In the second case, the state’s high court ruled a sheriff’s deputy was legally justified in stepping on to private land and taking an extremely malnourished horse to a vet because acquiring a warrant could have taken a number of hours, by which point the horse may have died.
While the high court agreed that animals are still defined by law as “property”, it ruled that police needed to act quickly to prevent harm to people or to property.
“To acknowledge that animals are victims of crime, that’s really common sense to us,” Lora Dunn, staff attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund in Portland, told the newspaper.
She added that while the charity recommends that police obtain a warrant to avoid “constitutional issues down the line”, the ruling was important in saving the lives of animals.
- 1 Scarlett Johansson new band 'already hit with legal complaint' from another The Singles
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
Mohammed Emwazi: Nine things we know about Isis militant 'Jihadi John'
What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
'Jihadi John': Mohammed Emwazi – from British computer programmer to Isis executioner
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role in this successful eco...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: QA Tester - London - £30,000 QA Tes...