A new era in law enforcement began July 21 at the Oregon Humane Society, as the nonprofit’s Humane Special Agents were commissioned by the Superintendent of Oregon State Police (OSP).
In the past, the “animal cops” at OHS received their police authority from a direct commission by the Governor. Under a new law, OHS Humane Special Agents will gain their authority through a special commission by the Superintendent of State Police. OSP Superintendent Richard Evans Jr. will be at OHS on July 21 to commission OHS Humane Special Agents Austin Wallace and Ulli Neitch.
“The authority of OHS agents is no longer dependent upon who lives in the Governor’s mansion in Salem,” said OHS Executive Director Sharon Harmon. “By bringing OHS agents under the authority of the state police, the legislature has recognized the importance of fighting animal crime today and long into the future.” OHS agents must meet the same standards of professional training and conduct that Oregon has established for every certified police officer in the state.
OHS agents, under both their past and future commissions, are authorized to enforce animal cruelty laws throughout the state. Last year, OHS responded to more than 1,000 animal cruelty reports, seized or removed 442 animals, and helped a total of 2,626 animals throughout the state.
OHS relies on private donations and receives no tax dollars to support its law enforcement activities.