On January 9 a dog left tied up in a Scotland train station made international news. Kia, the Shar-Pei mix, had been left with a suitcase full of his things: a pillow, a dog dish, a toy, and some dog food. The story went viral after photos of the deserted animal were shared through social media. The SPCA of Scotland is on the trail of the dog’s owner, as animal abandonment taken seriously there. But, what about here in Oregon? What are the options for releasing a dog, and what are the consequences of abandoning one?

Dog Abandonment in Oregon

Starting with the basics: Yes, abandoning a domesticated animal in the state of Oregon is illegal. According to Statute 167.340 Animal Abandonment, it is a Class B Misdemeanor. That amounts to a possible 6 months in jail or a $2500 fine.

What constitutes abandonment?

You might be surprised at how encompassing abandonment is. It includes the following:

  1. Leaving a domesticated animal at a location without providing care.
  2. Leaving an animal at or near a shelter or veterinary clinic without making arrangements with that facility first.
  3. Taking a stray animal away from your neighborhood and moving it to another area.

Many people leave unwanted dogs tied up somewhere, in hopes that they will become someone else’s problem. These laws are in place to protect dogs and other domestic animals from being thrown out like unwanted furniture. When dogs are no longer wanted, the right thing to do is check them into the shelter. That way the facility can get adequate health information on the animal as well as information about his or her history and temperament.

Surrendering a Dog

If you are no longer able to care for an animal, there are many shelters and rescue groups in Portland and the surrounding areas to help. Most breeds have their own rescue group that will foster the dog until they can find a new home (this often includes mix-breeds that only partly include the breed they work with). Of course one of the best resources is the Oregon Humane Society.

While it is possible to list your dog in an online ad, you should bear in mind that you will not know anything about the person who takes him or her. Rescue groups do good work in screening and training potential dog owners. They ensure the person is allowed to have the animal where they live and also offer information about what it will take to care for the dog. Many rescue groups even require a home visit before adoption is possible.

In addition, rescue groups often allow the new owner to bring the dog back if things do not work out. They want to place each animal in a home where he or she will succeed, and they offer all the support possible to help that happen.

Other Relevant Animal Laws

The Oregon Humane Society publishes an Oregon Animal Cruelty Laws Handbook which lays out all the legal protection dogs are afforded. This includes things like licensing, how long an animal can be tethered, breeding restrictions, and much more.

It is not common for Safe Journey Dog Boarding to have dogs left behind, though it is not unheard of for people to try and use dog boarding or doggie daycare services to abandon their dog. That is why we are thorough in collecting information when a person brings a new dog into Safe Journey Dog Boarding. We want you to feel happy with your dog, and not have a need to release ownership. That is why we also offer assistance in helping dogs learn to socialize. Our well-behaved pack is great at modeling good behavior for your dog. For more information on how we can help, contact us at Safe Journey Dog Boarding in Portland, OR.