OHS Humane Law Enforcement Protects Animals in Need

Protecting Animals from Cruelty and Neglect

Animal Crimes Forensic Center

In late 2022, OHS opened the Animal Crimes Forensic Center—becoming a critical resource for building strong cases against those charged with animal abuse and neglect.

After a full year of operation, the center is having a big impact on cases led by OHS Humane Law Enforcement and many others. The only facility of its kind on the West coast, the Animal Crimes Forensic Center (ACFC) provides services to other law enforcement agencies throughout Oregon and beyond.

The ACFC includes an exam room, diagnostic tools, a lab for analyzing samples, secure evidence storage, and state-of-the-art air flow systems.

There are two categories of veterinary forensic exams done at the ACFC—those performed on live animals and necropsies of deceased animals. In fact, almost half of the exams performed at the ACFC are necropsies—an exam similar to an autopsy performed on a deceased animal.

Each forensic exam is meticulous and methodical to preserve the integrity of the case.

Before an exam begins, a forensic technician will take “six-view” photos. Taking photos from six different angles is a best practice implemented by the ASPCA and adopted by OHS.

While each case varies, most exams begin with documenting an animal’s weight and physical condition, measuring any wounds, taking x-rays, and doing bloodwork to determine if an animal’s condition results from a medical condition like cancer.

OHS forensic veterinarians compile a report of their findings, which is then submitted to the prosecutor.

“These reports are critical for ensuring justice for victims of animal abuse or neglect,” says Chris Allori, OHS Chief of Humane Law Enforcement. “If you don’t have a vet report, you don’t have a case.”

Oregon Becomes the Safest State for Pets

Oregon has claimed the top spot in the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s ranking of states with the strongest animal protection laws. Animal possession bans, the definition of an animal, and protections for veterinarians who report suspected abuse were among the reasons cited for Oregon’s rise to first place. The state was previously ranked third.

Animal Cruelty Resource Prosecutor: An Oregon First

Oregon has another new resource in the fight against animal cruelty and neglect. In late 2023, Jake Kamins was named Senior Assistant Attorney General and Animal Cruelty Resource Prosecutor at the Oregon Department of Justice.

Funding for the position was originally introduced in Senate Bill 696, which OHS, the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and Humane Society of the United States all publicly supported and provided testimony advocating for passage of the bill. Although SB696 ultimately did not pass, funds for the position were added to the state’s budget through other means.

Since 2013, OHS has worked with Kamins on numerous cases during his time as a grant-funded, animal crimes prosecutor based in the Benton County District Attorney’s office. Most notably, Kamins and OHS worked together in 2023 on a case involving nearly 100 neglected cats from Polk County.

Since April 2020, OHS has seen successful prosecutions on all animal abuse and neglect cases that have gone to court, with the exception of one single case.

“The mission of Humane Law Enforcement is to speak for abused and neglected pets so they may have their voices heard in a court of law. A thorough investigation allows for all involved parties to have their stories told and those that abuse pets to be held accountable.”

– Chris Allori, OHS Chief of Humane Law Enforcement