- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The Oregon Supreme Court has vacated its 2014 ruling that said animals can be considered individual victims of a crime.

In an opinion released earlier this month, the high court said the matter should have never been considered because the state lacks the authority to appeal a judge’s sentencing in a misdemeanor case.

The issue arose when a Stanfield, Oregon, man was convicted in 2010 of starving 20 horses and goats on his property. A judge sentenced him on one count of second-degree animal neglect. The state said he should have been convicted on 20 counts, with each goat or horse considered a separate victim.

The Oregon Court of Appeals and Oregon Supreme Court sided with the state. But justices now say neither court had authority to issue an opinion.

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