Praise Court for Declaring Dogs to Be Sentient Beings

Starving Dog

Target: Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Thomas A. Balmer

Goal: Thank the Oregon Supreme Court for ruling that dogs are sentient beings to protect them from abuse.

Dogs have been declared sentient beings rather than mere property by the Oregon Supreme Court as part of a case involving a severely neglected and abused dog. Six years ago, an animal cruelty investigator for the Oregon Humane Society drove to the home of Amanda Newcomb on suspicion that she was mistreating the dog in her care, Juno. The dog was found to have very little body fat with no available food.

Juno was brought to the Humane Society and a blood draw found no parasites that would account for the emaciated state of the animal. Newcomb tried to argue in court that the blood draw constituted a warrantless search because Juno was her property, and therefore inadmissible in court. The Supreme Court of Oregon just upheld a ruling declaring that dogs are not property but sentient beings like a human child.

This ruling not only protects Juno and allows Newcomb to be convicted and put away for her cruelty, it protects all dogs in the state by making it much easier to convict other dog abusers. It also recognizes that dogs are not objects. They’re living beings with emotions that can feel both physical and emotional pain. Hopefully, this is the start of a greater trend in recognizing dogs as sentient. Sign our petition to thank the Oregon Supreme Court for this historic ruling for animal rights.


Dear Chief Justice Balmer,

I wanted to thank you for your recent ruling upholding the decision that dogs are sentient beings, not unlike human children, rather than property. By doing this, you’ve upheld justice for Juno, a dog found to be severely malnourished under the care of Amanda Newcomb. You’ve also made it so Newcomb could be convicted of animal abuse, hopefully preventing her from hurting other animals in the future.

Too many dogs have been failed by our justice system because they’re considered to be little more than objects. Dogs are living beings with real emotions. They can feel both physical and emotional pain, including the suffering of neglect and abuse. Unfortunately, they cannot protect themselves from cruel humans. We therefore need to do everything we can to ensure that their well-being is protected.

This historic case is a huge step forward in the fight for animal rights. Hopefully, other states will soon follow your good example and make their own rulings protecting dogs as sentient animals. Thank you for doing your part to protect Juno and future dogs from human mistreatment.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Wonderlane

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  1. The human animals lack of regard for every other living creature on Earth has gone on far too long. It displays our inability to understand the responsibility towards anything else, and our inability to be ethical. Thank you judge for your insight and understanding. Now, for the future! This judge may have just taken a step no other was willing to take!

  2. Malcolm Booth says:

    Hopefully this decision will be expanded to include all non-human animals.

  3. Lynn Juozilaitis says:

    Thank you & God bless you!!

  4. Lisa Zarafonetis Lisa Zarafonetis says:

    Signed & Shared.

  5. Sophie Debbane says:

    One day ALL mammals will be declared to be SENTIENT beings that require protection from abuse.

  6. David Lavery says:

    People who care about animals already know they are sentient beings. Animal abusers are vermin and need to be destroyed.

  7. Michelle says:

    Thank you!!! I hope other courts follow suit!

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