In Oregon, state law mainly governs owners’ obligation for their family pets. Here are a few of the most essential laws animal owners, specifically dog owners, must know.
Oregon’s Animal Licensing Laws
In counties with dog control programs, Oregon law needs owners to get pet licenses for dogs that are 6 months old or have their irreversible teeth, whichever precedes. To get a pet license, dogs must be current on their rabies vaccinations. Counties, not cities, issue these licenses.
Getting your pet licensed can be inconvenient and is an additional expense of dog ownership. However, licensing programs can reduce the risk of rabies infections from dog bites, support dog control programs and shelters and, along with microchipping, can make it easier for someone to reunite you with your lost dog. In fact, if someone finds a dog in Oregon, state law requires them to try to find its owner. You’ll get an identification tag with your license, which you should attach to your dog’s collar.
Oregon’s Approach to Problematic Pets and Owners
Oregon law takes a compassionate and practical approach to animal bites. If a cat, dog or ferret bites a human, the animal is to be confined and observed for 10 days, not euthanized. If the dog has rabies, it will die in that time. If it doesn’t, other measures can be taken if needed to reduce the risk of future bites.
Oregon law requires pets to receive a minimum standard of care, including a sufficient quantity and quality of food, access to drinking water, veterinary care when sick or injured, shelter against the elements and a clean and comfortable living environment. Violations can result in a misdemeanor or felony for animal neglect.
Oregon’s public nuisance laws apply to dogs that bark or make other noises excessively. Dog owners should use humane methods such as training, play, and companionship to curb this behavior. Barking dog complaints are handled at the city level.
Portland Animal Laws
Portland has designated dog off-leash areas for licensed and fully vaccinated dogs to play under an owner or caretaker’s supervision. Dogs must be leashed in all other park areas, as well as trails, pathways, gardens and playgrounds. Regardless of where you and your pet are getting fresh air, you must clean up their waste.
You can’t allow your dog to dig holes or chase wildlife, and dogs are never allowed on sports courts, tracks or fields. You also can’t allow your dog to enter any fountains, ponds, lakes or streams. You are liable for any injuries or damage your dog causes to people or other animals.
Minor violations are subject to fines of up to $150 per incident. Exceptions apply to service, police and rescue dogs.
Salem Pet Laws
Salem sits along the border of Marion and Polk counties, which both require pet licenses. If you’re new to the area or have recently become the pet’s owner, you have 30 days to get a license. Marion County offers senior pet owners a discount for licensing their altered (spayed or neutered) dogs.
Eugene Pet Laws
Eugene needs dog licensing but also has an ordinance specifically prohibiting unlicensed dogs in the downtown core. A local nonprofit offers basic veterinary care—including spaying, neutering and vaccination—for family pets coming from unhoused people. So do the Portland Animal Well-being Group and Pro-Bone-O in Eugene.