It's deadline week in Salem—for any bill to have a chance of passing this session, the bill must be scheduled for a work session by the end of day Friday, April 7.
This morning in the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, lawmakers held a hearing on House Bill 3044, which would prohibit Oregonians from transporting unsecured dogs in the backs of pickup trucks unless the dogs are tethered, in secured crates or otherwise protected from flying out of the truck bed.
In written testimony, Sharon Harmon, the CEO of the Oregon Humane Society, shared an anecdote about a call from a concerned citizen who'd witnessed a dog nearly fall from the back of a speeding pickup.
The witness followed the truck and told the driver what she'd seen. She didn't get a sympathetic response.
“The driver told her that if the dog should fall from the truck, it would teach the dog a lesson—that next time, the dog wouldn’t get so close to the edge,” Harmon told lawmakers.
Harmon added in her written testimony that 100,000 dogs a year are killed or injured every year in this country in falls from the back of moving pickups.
Those arguments don’t hold much water with rural interests represented by the Oregon Farm Bureau.
“This is not an issue we’ve seen in rural areas,” Mary Anne Nash, a lobbyist for the Farm Bureau testified today. “It’s an urban-rural divide issue.”
Nash explained that ranchers rely on working dogs and that the limitations proposed are impractical. Others, including former state Rep. and Clackamas County Commissioner Larry Sowa (D-Oregon City) also testified against the bill, saying it was too broad.
Committee chair Brian Clem (D-Salem) ended the hearing by saying the disagreements were sufficient to require further negotiation before the bill can move forward.
A similar bill failed in the 2015 session.