Landmark Ruling: Animals Can Now Be Considered Victims In The Eyes Of

Christina Peden
by Christina Peden
It’s about time – Oregon judge rules that animals are victims, not property

Great news out of Oregon –a landmark ruling has declared that animals can now be considered victims of abuse, just like humans. Prior to the ruling, animals in Oregon were considered mere property, as they are throughout North America.

I mean, don’t even get me started on what I’d like to do to people who abuse animals (spoiler alert: it ain’t pretty and probably wouldn’t involve a courtroom), but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

The ruling came about as a result of the Albert Nix case in 2009. He was convicted of starving 20 horses and goats, and the judge declared every animal a separate victim, meaning Nix was convicted on 20 second-degree counts of neglect.

Now, a precedent has been set that paves the way for stiffer sentences for animal abuse, including multiple charges for people who abuse more than one animal.

I’m sure it seems crazy to any animal lover that animals need to legally be declared ‘victims’instead of possessions, but this is the unfortunate reality in most places worldwide.

A report out of Michigan State University has this to say: “It is not a novel ideal that entities other than humans can be considered crime victims. Businesses, corporations, neighborhood associations, and government entities have been defined as crime victims in state statutes. Including protections for animals as crime victims is a natural progression in the development of the law.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Let’s hope that this ruling has a ripple effect and prompts other states and nations to consider instituting the same kind of law.

If you’d like to learn more about animal rights and the law and current issues surrounding them, the Animal Legal Defense Fund can be a good place to start.

[Source: Life with Dogs]

Christina Peden
Christina Peden

Christina Peden is a lifelong animal lover and avid wordsmith. She lives in Toronto with her boyfriend Ryan where they are proud pet parents to puppy, Matilda and cat, Oscar. In her spare time, she can be found enjoying Toronto, Canada's all-too-short patio season, taking advantage of the city's numerous parks or curled up with a good book.

More by Christina Peden