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Rachel Kosmal McCart is a lifelong horsewoman and the founder of Equine Legal Solutions, PC, an equine law firm based in the Portland, Oregon area. Rachel is a member of the New York, California, Oregon and Washington State bars and is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon and the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. Rachel currently competes in three-day eventing.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Proposed Law Has Big Impact on Oregon Horse Owners

On January 10, 2011, the Oregon State Senate Interim Committee on Business and Transportation introduced Senate Bill 262.  The bill is very far-reaching and includes several requirements likely to affect nearly every Oregon horse owner.  The main points of the bill are set forth below.

Update - Current Status

Word from Oregon State Senator Mark Hess' office is:

"At this time, the bill has been referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, but the Chair does not plan to schedule the bill for a hearing"

Note that this does not mean the bill is officially "dead," as the original sponsor of the bill has been quoted as saying.   Also, controversial bills have a habit of coming back in different forms later on - this bill has already been raised once before.

Horse Licensing
  • Oregon horse owners would be required to apply to the state ag department for an "ownership certificate" for each of their horses.
  • The "ownership certificate" would cost up to $100 per horse.
  • The application would include the owner's name and contact information, as well as a copy of the horse's registration papers (if any), the horse's location, and the horse's age, color, markings and other identifying information.
  • The only exemption is for horses in Oregon less than 30 days.
  • If an Oregon horse owner doesn't get an ownership certificate, the first offense carries a max fine of $500 per horse, and afterwards, a max fine of $1,000 per horse.
Horse Transportation

  • No one can pick up a horse in Oregon for transport without an "ownership certificate" or a document proving the horse has been in Oregon for less than 30 days.
  • Anyone trailering a horse within Oregon must stop at least every eight hours for a "rest break."
  • The "rest break" would require that the horse be unloaded for at least six hours and fed and watered.
  • Violation of the rest break rule carries a max fine of $500 per horse for the first offense, and afterwards, a max fine of $1,000 per horse.  So does violation of the documentation requirement.
  • Horses on trailers must be checked at least every six hours.
  • Horse trailers must be single-level only and "designed, constructed and maintained in a manner that at all times protects the health and well-being of any equine being transported."
  • "Aggressive" horses must be segregated from other horses.
  • Horse trailers must be tall enough to allow the horses inside to stand with their heads "extended to fullest normal postural height."
  • Drivers must drive "in a manner reasonably calculated to avoid causing injury to the equines."
  • If a horse is in "obvious physical distress", the driver has to seek veterinary attention for the horse.
  • No one can use an electric prod to load or unload a horse.
Horse Sales
  • Oregon horse sellers must provide buyers with a signed and dated state ag department transfer form.
  • Oregon horse buyers must file the transfer form with the state ag department within 30 days after purchase and pay a $10 transfer fee.
  • An Oregon horse buyer can't resell the horse until they receive a new "ownership certificate" from the state ag department unless they hold an "equine trader" permit.
  • Obtaining an equine trader permit entails paying a $100 annual fee and submitting an application to the state ag department that includes the applicant's name and contact information, date of birth and any criminal convictions within the last seven years.
  • When an equine trader buys a horse, they have to get a notarized bill of sale, a state ownership certificate and a completed transfer form.  They must also provide the seller with a receipt.
  • Equine traders must keep records of all the horses they sell.
  • The state ag department can inspect an equine trader's horses and records at any time.
  • Violation of the equine trader rules carries a max fine of $500 per horse for the first offense and afterwards, a max fine of $1,000 per horse.
  • When anyone consigns a horse to a livestock auction, they must provide an ownership certificate to the auction.
  • The auction must provide all horse buyers with a bill of sale, ownership certificate and transfer form.
  • Livestock auctions must maintain records of all horses sold.
Horse Rescue
  • The state ag department has to keep a registry and a public list of all Oregon horse rescues.
  • To register with the state ag department as a horse rescue, the rescue must be an Oregon non-profit corporation and meet certain standards for horse care.
  • Horse rescues must re-register with the state ag department every year.
  • Horse rescues must keep records of all horses sold or adopted.
  • The state ag department can regulate the adoption and sale of wild horses and horses sold or adopted by rescues.
  • The state ag department can inspect a rescue's horses and records at any time.
  • No one (person or entity) can solicit donations in Oregon for horse rescue unless they are a registered rescue or clearly disclose that they aren't.
Where Did this Bill Come From?

The legislative history reveals that the bill was introduced at the request of Lindy Minten, a private citizen in Scio, Oregon.  The reasons for her interest in this matter are unclear.  (This paragraph edited to delete misidentification of Ms. Minten as Dalinda Minton)

What Can Oregon Voters Do About the Bill?

The bill is currently being reviewed by the Oregon State Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee.  Here are the members of the Committee.  Interested Oregon voters can email them:
Jackie Dingfelder, Committee Chair (Democrat) - sen.jackiedingfelder@state.or.us
Alan Olsen, Vice Chair (Republican) - sen.alanolsen@state.or.us
Mark Hass (Democrat) - sen.markhass@state.or.us 
Floyd Prozanski (Democrat) - sen.floydprozanski@state.or.us 
Chuck Thomsen (Republican) - sen.chuckthomsen@state.or.us 


dpowell321 said...

Thank you so much for boiling down the 16 page bill to language anyone can understand. There is already a problem with abandoned and neglected equines here in Oregon since many people are not able to support their horses in the present economy. This bill will only make that problem worse. Let's hope that everyone who reads this will take advantage of your research and contact the committee members to voice their opinion.

I have already contacted Senator Whitsett and his assistant assured me that he will not be supporting the bill. If anyone has time, a brief thank you note to him would be a nice gesture.

James said...

I hope everyone possible takes the time to email whoever needs to be because the 4-H people in Oregon would have a harder time, there are enough young kids that need other things to do and horses give them a big responsibilty and our Polk county already has 20 kids in one horse group. Please don't make it harder for our kids to have a project. I know there are some hard times right now in this economy so please don't make it worse