Criminal Justice Program

Lora Dunn

Lora Dunn

As Staff Attorney for ALDF’s Criminal Justice Program, Lora Dunn assists prosecutors and law enforcement throughout the country on animal cruelty cases—from research and written support on motions, pleadings, and briefs to trainings and presentations.

Lora has been instrumental in expanding the Criminal Justice Program’s amicus brief work (“friend of the court” briefs), including such seminal cases as State v. Fessenden (exigency exception to the warrant requirement applies to animal victims in emergency situations), State v. Newcomb (blood draw of a lawfully seized animal as a “search” under the Oregon Constitution and Fourth Amendment), and State v. Nix (animals as crime “victims” for sentencing purposes).

Lora has also been active in pushing for stronger animal protection legislation. In 2015, Lora successfully lobbied for an ALDF bill that allows private citizens to enjoin animal cruelty crimes through Oregon’s nuisance abatement code. In 2013, Lora assisted in drafting one of Oregon’s most extensive “omnibus” animal cruelty bills that set tougher penalties and sentencing guidelines for animal abuse, strengthened Oregon’s pre-conviction forfeiture process, and added new licensing and recordkeeping requirements for animal rescues.

Lora is an adjunct professor at Lewis and Clark Law School, where she teaches the Crimes Against Animals course. An L&C alum, she focused on animal and environmental law and received the Dean’s Scholarship for Excellence. Before joining ALDF, Lora was an associate managing editor for Carnegie Hall and an editorial assistant for Oxford University Press in New York. An East Coast native, Lora now resides in Portland, Oregon with her husband and their rescued cat, Panther. She has been quoted in the New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Dodo, One Green Planet, and The Oregonian.


Diane Balkin is a contract attorney for ALDF’s Criminal Justice Program. She began her career as a prosecutor in the Denver District Attorney’s Office in 1979, where she has worked for the last 32 years. When she retired from the DA’s office on July 15, 2011, Diane was the Chief Deputy District Attorney (trial attorney) where she prosecuted all types of felonies (including homicides) and supervised a team of junior lawyers and support staff. Diane also served as the “animal crimes” prosecutor in her office where she demonstrated time and time again her commitment to ensuring both an effective investigation and an aggressive prosecution of every animal cruelty case within her jurisdiction.

Prior to becoming Chief Deputy, Diane served as the director of the Complex Prosecution Division where she was the legal advisor to the Denver County Statutory Grand Jury and she supervised the investigation and prosecution of crimes committed against the elderly. She has also served as the director of the Juvenile Division and the Domestic Violence Unit. Diane was appointed to the Colorado State Board of Veterinary Medicine in June 2001 and served on the Board for 8 years. She received her J.D. in 1977 from the University of Denver and is a nationally ranked lecturer on animal cruelty investigations and prosecutions with a strong emphasis on training veterinarians.

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