Demand That Oregon Apply Good Samaritan Laws To Protect Attempts To Save Animals

Target: John Kitzhaber, Governor of Oregon

Goal: Apply Good Samaritan laws to those individuals who intervene in order to help and save animals

Several concerned citizens of the state of Oregon are calling for Good Samaritan laws to be put in place for animal welfare. These individuals, including members of the Roseburg Humane Society, are asking the state to extend Good Samaritan protections to not only include attempting to save humans but animals as well. Currently, the state of Oregon has no such legal protections, and individuals have found themselves facing criminal charges simply for trying to protect animal life.

Good Samaritan laws protect those acting in good faith and with the intention to help victims from liability for damages that may occur when these individuals try to perform good deeds. These laws most traditionally protect individuals who attempt to perform first aid on injured individuals. The rational behind these laws are that people should not be punished for trying to help someone who is in need. However, there are little to no protections for individuals who try to help animals in need.

Good Samaritan laws need to be passed in order to protect those individuals who care enough about animals to respond quickly and act in a way to improve the state of the animal. In Oregon, an 84 year-old man was charged with felony theft after walking a neighbor’s dog that had been left outside on a very hot day. The neighbor had left the dog in the yard while she was at work, and the dog was apparently acting lethargic and overheated. The man returned the dog after the walk, but he was still arrested over the incident. The charges were only dropped after the arresting officer failed to appear in court.

Sign the petition letter below, and tell the state of Oregon that being caring and compassionate should never be a crime. Those who try to help animals should not have to worry about being sued over their good deeds. It is accepted that those who act with good faith in helping human beings are protected by law, and that same protection needs to be extended to all creatures. A life is a life, no matter if it is a dog or a human being.


Dear John Kitzhaber, Governor of Oregon,

The United States has a very long legal tradition of Good Samaritan laws. We accept that those who act in good faith to try and save an individual’s life should have special protection under law. As a society, we reward compassion and value life.

So as a society with such values, how is it logical to fail to protect individuals who apply that care and compassion for animals as well? In light of the recent case in your state in which an 84 year-old concerned citizen was charged with felony theft for attempting to save an animal from the heat, it is apparent that these individuals need protection. The law recognizes animal abuse as a crime, so why shouldn’t the act of trying to save animals from abuse be encouraged?

You would never hear a story on the news about an individual who was facing charges after trying to save a fellow human from an abusive situation; why should animals be treated any differently? Good Samaritan laws need to be applied to protect the caring individuals who go out of their way to prevent further harm from occurring to animals.

Please go to the Oregon Congress and make the case for extending Good Samaritan protections to those who help animals. A life is a life, and suffering is suffering, no matter the species. Please stand up for those who stand up for animals.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Nathan R. Yergler

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