Oregon May Empower Animal Welfare Agents

HB4021 will allow Oregon state police to commission employees of humane investigation agencies to enforce animal welfare laws.

A bill to be heard Wednesday by the Oregon House Judiciary Committee would allow state police to commission employees of humane investigation agencies to enforce animal welfare laws.

The bill, HB4021, defines a humane investigation agency as a private, nonprofit animal care agency that has maintained an animal welfare investigation department for at least five years and has had officers employed as special agents.

The state police superintendant would be able to authorize an employee of a humane investigation agency as a humane special agent who has powers and protections afforded by Oregon state police.

The employee would have to be certified or eligible to be certified as a police officer under state law, and the agency would need an insurance policy sufficient to satisfy any legal claims.

The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council opposes the law, saying the legislation could open up breeders, pet stores and pet owners to routine harassment. The council advised its members to contact the Oregon House Judiciary Committee with questions or concerns and, if possible, to attend the hearing.

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