Thursday, November 14, 2013

Oregon Game Fowl Breeders Ass’n v. Smith case brief

Oregon Game Fowl Breeders Ass’n v. Smith case brief summary
516 P.2d 499

CASE SYNOPSIS: Appellants, a county district attorney and the state attorney general, challenged an order of the Circuit Court, Jackson County (Oregon), which held that ORS 167.850 (Oregon) and ORS 167.860 (Oregon), prohibiting cruelty to animals, were unconstitutional and enjoined their enforcement in a declaratory judgment action brought by respondent breeders association.

The association bred, raised, and sold game fowl, which were used by buyers for cockfighting. Some times, the association tested the birds for fighting instinct. The association sought a declaratory judgment that ORS 167.850 (Oregon) and ORS 167.860 (Oregon) were unconstitutional. The trial court found the statutes unconstitutional in that they provided different penalties for the same prohibited conduct. 

  • The court disagreed and reversed. ORS 167.850(1)(a) prohibited the intentional or reckless subjection of an animal to cruel mistreatment, whereas ORS 167.860(2) (Oregon) prohibited the criminally negligent subjection of an animal to the same cruel mistreatment and provided for a lesser penalty. 
  • Thus, the two statutes did not provide different penalties for the same offense but differentiated penalties on the basis of the culpable mental state of the actor, and in some respects the acts prohibited were different. 
  • There was no basis for concluding that the legislature did not intend to include "cockfighting." 
  • The statutes specifically included birds as animals, and both statutes prohibited all cruel mistreatment except that otherwise authorized by law or specifically exempted.
CONCLUSION: The court reversed the trial court's order and remanded for vacation of the injunction.

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