Jake Kamins has worked as a Deputy District Attorney for the Multnomah County District Attorney in Oregon since October 2010. He received his J.D. from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, where he was an Associate Editor of the Lewis & Clark Law Review. As a deputy DA in the Misdemeanor Trial Unit, he finds his cases involving animal victims to be some of the most rewarding ones he has.
One of the first cases Jake handled as a prosecutor involved Caleb, a pit bull mix adopted and then left without medical care as he slowly starved to death. Jake convinced the judge that the defendant's unfamiliarity with animal care was not a valid defense to neglect, and the defendant was found guilty of Animal Neglect in the First Degree. As part of her sentence, the judge ordered the defendant to compile a list of low-cost and no-cost alternatives for veterinary care.
In 2011, Jake tried two complex cases involving hoarding and animal welfare. In the first case, a defendant had filled her two-bedroom apartment with over forty cats. Investigators found many of the animals dead or in extremely poor physical health. After a jury trial, the defendant was convicted of seven counts of Animal Neglect in the First Degree and 38 counts of Animal Neglect in the Second Degree. The defendant’s attorney argued (unsuccessfully) that all of the convictions should merge, leaving the defendant with one conviction instead of 45. Using materials provided by ALDF and the Oregon Department of Justice, Jake successfully argued that the convictions should be entered separately. The issue is currently on appeal with Oregon’s Court of Appeals.
In the second case, a defendant’s small apartment was filled with garbage, rotting food, cat feces, and several cat carcasses. The remaining living cat, “Monkey,” was suffering contact dermatitis from flea bites and had urine-stained paws. The defendant was convicted of Animal Neglect in the Second Degree for her treatment of Monkey.
Both defendants were ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation and any recommended treatment, and are now prohibited by statute from owning any domestic animals for five years.
Jake handled several other neglect cases in 2011; all were resolved with plea agreements.
Jake resides in Portland with his wife Jackie, their 16 month old son Mason, and their 16 year old cat Cassie.