Sen. Alan Olsen, R-Canby, stepped in to help a Gladstone man keep the 16-year old lynx that has been his pet since it was 10 days old.
A bill he introduced that would allow Patrick Clark to keep the animal was approved Monday by the Oregon House of Representatives. Now all it needs is the signature of Gov. John Kitzhaber
Once signed, its the law, Olsen said. Mr. Clark can register his lynx.
All that remains will be the city of Gladstone modifying its ordinance to comply with the new law, he said.
Clark, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of Somalia and Desert Storm, ran afoul of a 2009 law that made it illegal to own many wild animals in Oregon.
Clark said he was unaware he needed a permit until a neighbor reported him to Gladstone officials. One wasnt needed when he got the Lynx named Sosha.
The 35-pound declawed feline is a physician classified service animal and helps Clark with his post-traumatic stress disorder.
Olsen looked into the situation after hearing a news report on Clark's plight and felt it could be resolved.
Clark was a veteran and deserved better, Olsen said.
Clark, not knowing about the 2009 law, was understandably confused, Olsen said. It was one of 919 bills passed that year.
And in failing to register the animal, he was faced with getting rid of his pet or putting it down, Olsen said.
That just didnt seem right.
Gladstone city officials, while sympathetic, were bound by state law and ordered Clark to remove the animal by Jan. 9.
Olsen accompanied Clark to a special council meeting Jan. 7 and requested an extension to give him more time to amend or change law.
They gave us five months, he said. We got it done in a month and a half.
Olsen introduced SB 1584 that would allow Clark to seek a permit from the Department of Agriculture to keep the lynx.
The bill authorizes the ODA to issue a permit for keeping an exotic animal under several conditions, including that the person has disability and a physician has recommended the exotic animal to alleviate the effects of the disability. The owner must apply for the permit before Dec. 31, 2014.
People get very attached to their pets, said Olsen who has two Labrador retrievers. If anyone comes in and tries to take their pets, theyre going to fight for them.
I felt it was incumbent upon me to at least try and help this gentleman, Olsen said.