Praise Court for Declaring Dogs to Be Sentient Beings

Target: Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas A. Balmer

Goal: Thank the Oregon Supreme Court for ruling that dogs are sentient beings to protect them from abuse.

Dogs have been declared sentient beings rather than mere property by the Oregon Supreme Court as part of a case involving a severely neglected and abused dog. Six years ago, an animal cruelty investigator for the Oregon Humane Society drove to the home of Amanda Newcomb on suspicion that she was mistreating the dog in her care, Juno. The dog was found to have very little body fat with no available food.

Juno was brought to the Humane Society and a blood draw found no parasites that would account for the emaciated state of the animal. Newcomb tried to argue in court that the blood draw constituted a warrantless search because Juno was her property, and therefore inadmissible in court. The Supreme Court of Oregon just upheld a ruling declaring that dogs are not property but sentient beings like a human child.

This ruling not only protects Juno and allows Newcomb to be convicted and put away for her cruelty, it protects all dogs in the state by making it much easier to convict other dog abusers. It also recognizes that dogs are not objects. They’re living beings with emotions that can feel both physical and emotional pain. Hopefully, this is the start of a greater trend in recognizing dogs as sentient. Sign our petition to thank the Oregon Supreme Court for this historic ruling for animal rights.


Dear Chief Justice Balmer,

I wanted to thank you for your recent ruling upholding the decision that dogs are sentient beings, not unlike human children, rather than property. By doing this, you’ve upheld justice for Juno, a dog found to be severely malnourished under the care of Amanda Newcomb. You’ve also made it so Newcomb could be convicted of animal abuse, hopefully preventing her from hurting other animals in the future.

Too many dogs have been failed by our justice system because they’re considered to be little more than objects. Dogs are living beings with real emotions. They can feel both physical and emotional pain, including the suffering of neglect and abuse. Unfortunately, they cannot protect themselves from cruel humans. We therefore need to do everything we can to ensure that their well-being is protected.

This historic case is a huge step forward in the fight for animal rights. Hopefully, other states will soon follow your good example and make their own rulings protecting dogs as sentient animals. Thank you for doing your part to protect Juno and future dogs from human mistreatment.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Wonderlane

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  1. corinne beuchet says:

    therefore we need to change the term “owner ” to “guardian” as we own a car, a chair…but we do not own a child, a husband a wife…

  2. Kathy Fujimoto says:

    Thank You so much for GETTING IT! I sign animal cruelty/rights petitions every day in hopes that someone will finally understand that all animals are intelligent, feeling, emotional and loving beings…and that laws will change. It’s horrific what they endure at the hands of sick and twisted individuals…unable to speak for themselves. They are not to be seen as inferior to the human race…and I am so happy that you have acknowledged this. I can only hope that other States recognize this and follow your lead! THANK YOU for being a voice for dogs…hope that this law becomes standard for all animal beings across the board 🙂

  3. I hope that every state in our country follows suit!

    Animals are not property.
    Animals have feelings like anything living does, and they feel pain and sadness.

    I love my dog as much as my children, she was my first child and she has and always will be my family, my baby.

    It is sickening how people can discard their pets like they would a piece of garbage and how people can hurt and abuse a innocent animal like they do.

    All animal abuse or cruelty or child abuse or cruelty needs to be a felony.
    Too many innocent lives lost daily due to ignorant people why pry on the innocent and weak.

  4. Jenna Miles says:

    All animals are sentient beings with their own inherent rights.

  5. This is certainly a long time coming. Why they have waited so long to make this ruling I don’t know but I hope all states follow and I hope the Congress passes a law regarding this.

  6. Thank you

  7. Elizabeth Sargeant says:

    This law should apply to all domestic and farm animals, not just dogs!
    But it is a step in the right direction.

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