Owners of frisky animals faced fines and even jail time if their pets were seen engaging in amorous activities in Stanfield after the city council enacted a new ordinance in May of 1975.

According to a city ordinance put into place by the Stanfield City Council, reported in the May 15, 1975, East Oregonian, owners of capricious dogs, cats, horses and other animals that were caught having sex in public could face a fine not less than $15 or a jail sentence from two to 25 days.

Stanfield mayor Charles Huxell explained that the ordinance was designed to avoid any bothersome nuisances. Stanfield, which was partially zoned rural, had a great number of animals within the city limits, Huxell said, many of which were used for breeding purposes.

While the ordinance had no definite geographic application, it generally applied to the immediate downtown area — including any horses tethered against city hall.

The west Umatilla County town’s ordinance made worldwide headlines after the story was leaked to wire services. Stanfield city clerk Diane Hutchinson said calls were received at city hall May 15 from the London Times, a Honolulu, Hawaii, radio station, and Northwest cities including Portland, Eugene and Yakima. A Boise resident passing through the area stopped by in person to ask if the ordinance actually existed.

The Hawaiian broadcaster didn’t doubt the accuracy of the news reports, but wondered “if it had been enforced yet,” Hutchinson said.

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