Criminal Justice Program
As Director of the Criminal Justice Program for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, 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 senior staff 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.
While attending Lewis & Clark Law School, David focused on animal and criminal law, receiving the law school’s Animal Law Leadership Award. During this period, David clerked for the Center for Animal Law Studies, Co-Directed L&C’s SALDF chapter, was an Animal Law Review Editor-in-Chief, and worked on farmed animal and vegan prisoner issues through the Animal Law Clinic. He also represented the state of Oregon in criminal court on behalf of the Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office as a certified law student. While completing his LL.M. in Animal Law at Lewis & Clark Law School, David co-taught L&C’s core animal law course, edited and contributed to the second edition of Animal Law in a Nutshell, and worked on identifying legal frameworks supporting expanded prosecution of animal crimes.
David has also worked internationally on animal law issues through the Kenya Legal Project. By way of continuing involvement with that program and the Lewis & Clark Human-Animal Studies Collaboration, David seeks to contribute to animal interests being valued across both national and academic boundaries. Prior to embarking on his legal career, David earned a B.A. in History and Gender Studies from Claremont McKenna College, and worked in higher education, where he focused on community justice, sexual assault prevention and response, peer counseling, crisis management, co-curricular education, and sex-blind housing programs. David lives in Portland, Oregon with his spouse and a quartet of felines (three rescues and one long-term foster).
As the Criminal Justice Program Fellow, Kathleen Wood helps the Criminal Justice Program in their work assisting law enforcement officials and prosecutors with animal cruelty cases. She also works with the Legislative Affairs Program on initiatives related to animal cruelty. A recent graduate of Notre Dame Law School, Kathleen earned the Thomas L. Shaffer Fellowship which allows recent law school graduates to work in public interest. Prior to joining the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Kathleen clerked at the Animal Welfare Institute in their Farm Animal Division and earned the UCLA Chancellor’s Service Award in recognition of her outstanding service to the community. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her rescue cat, Penny. When she’s not in the office, she enjoys painting, knitting, and reading.