Animals seem to be winning important cases in the often convoluted criminal justice system. This is a recent case.
Traditionally animals are considered to be property but the Oregon Supremes didn’t agree in this case.
In 2010 then 28-year-old Amanda Newcomb from Portland was accused of animal abuse. The investigating officer found abundant evidence of abuse and took Juno the dog to a veterinarian who drew blood, examined her feces, and determined that she was malnourished. She was placed in a new home, brought back to health and Newcomb faced charges.
Newcomb was convicted of second-degree animal neglect. She appealed, arguing that authorities had violated her Constitutional rights to be protected from unreasonable searches of her property by drawing blood from her dog. Under Oregon law, animals are defined as property.
This was upheld in 2014 by the Oregon Court of Appeals. They ruled that because the dog was the woman’s property at that time, the blood was illegally drawn since there was no search warrant.
This decision makes it harder for veterinarians and prosecutors to pursue charges against abusive owners.
However, the Oregon Supreme Court recently overturned the decision. They ruled that dogs are not mere property like, for example, a suitcase, and do not require a search warrant. Drawing Juno's blood was not an unreasonable search of the woman’s property. No information (or contraband) was put in the dog in an attempt to conceal it. What is inside a dog is just “more dog.”
This decision is good news for the welfare of animals. Bad news for lowlife scum animal abusers.