Animal rights activists are celebrating after the Oregon Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of a woman for neglecting dozens of cats.
What was at stake in Wednesday's ruling was whether each cat could be treated as a separate victim.
The "separate victim" idea was first established in State v. Nix, but that case was vacated earlier this year on a technicality. Animal rights activists have been waiting for another case to reaffirm the "separate victim" idea.
Scott Heiser with the Animal Legal Defense Fund said this latest cat case does just that.
“We’re very pleased that the clarification came down today. We knew it would and figured it was highly lightly that the court of appeals would reaffirm Nix simply because the logic in Nix is sound and the reason for vacating it was purely procedural. So we’re very pleased, but I can’t claim that we’re surprised.”
What the ruling means is that when an owner is accused of neglecting several animals, the court can impose multiple sentences.
It also prevents a defendant from consolidating those convictions into one charge, and then trying to get it expunged.