New bill imposes harsher punishments on animal abusers

      EUGENE, Ore. - A new bill goes into effect this week that will impose harsher punishments for animal abusers in Oregon.

      The bill increases punishment for animal neglect on several levels, a move local animal lovers hope will spur people into providing better care for their pets.

      One aspect of Senate Bill 6 covers harsher penalties for those who neglect animals.

      Sasha Elliot, a spokesperson for Greenhill Humane Society, believes the law may act as a deterrent to those who may neglect or abuse their pets and could save the lives of thousands of animals.

      "That sort of neglect and abuse won't be tolerated," Elliot said. " animals deserve respect and they deserve our protection, I think that's a huge win for our community in general."

      Before SB 6, anyone convicted of neglecting an animal couldn't own a domestic animal for five years. Horses weren't considered domestic animals, so an offender convicted of neglecting a horse could still own one.

      The new bill closed that loophole.

      Elliot says Lane County has it's fair share of animal neglect and abuse cases. However she also believes the community is full of animal lovers, adding that this bill is a good step towards ensuring responsible pet ownership.

      If you see an animal that may need help, contact the local authorities.