Victory for Oregon’s First-Ever Dedicated Animal Cruelty Prosecutor: Jake Kamins

Posted by Lora Dunn, ALDF Staff Attorney on October 16, 2014

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When nearly 170 cattle were seized from the property of William Holdner and Jane Baum in summer 2012, many were so thin that their ribs were protruding, and some were so malnourished they could barely stand. Half of the herd suffered from untreated eye diseases, including cancer, and sadly some had to be euthanized due to their conditions. Even after two weeks of slow recovery, the cows were still severely emaciated, their Body Condition Scores mostly ranging between 1 and 3—a BCS for a healthy cow falls between 5 and 7.

In October 2014, thanks to the tremendous work of Deputy District Attorney Jake Kamins in one of the most complicated animal cruelty cases in Oregon’s history and a grueling three-week trial, Holdner and Baum were convicted in Columbia County, Oregon of more than 120 counts of animal cruelty—including 16 counts of first-degree neglect and 79 counts of second-degree neglect for Holdner. The defendants—owners of a commercial beef cattle operation—had argued that because the cows were “breeding stock,” it was appropriate to keep them as lean as they were to increase their reproductive capacity.

The jury didn’t buy it. After only a few hours of deliberation—despite being tasked with evaluating more than 100 separate cruelty counts—the jury convicted both defendants of animal neglect on every single count charged by the prosecution. Because Oregon law recognizes each cruelly treated animal as a separate crime victim, Holdner and Baum face multiple jail terms and fines for the cows they so severely neglected. Sentencing is currently set for December 2014.

Last year, ALDF awarded a grant to the Oregon District Attorneys Association to fund Oregon’s first-ever dedicated, full-time animal cruelty prosecutor. Jake is the first prosecutor in the nation who focuses solely on animal cruelty cases—crucial for the growing number of counties facing budget cutbacks. Jake is based out of Benton County, Oregon, but is available to all of the state’s district attorneys: In just over one year on the job, he has worked with the majority of Oregon’s 36 counties.

“This jury’s verdict sends a powerful message,” Jake said. “Neglectful treatment of any animal—including commercial livestock—is unacceptable in the State of Oregon.”

We commend Jake Kamins for his tireless work on this complex case, and we are hopeful that this cutting-edge program will be replicated in other states throughout the country—ensuring that perpetrators of animal cruelty are held accountable regardless of a county’s resources.


35 thoughts on “Victory for Oregon’s First-Ever Dedicated Animal Cruelty Prosecutor: Jake Kamins

  1. Linda Karp says:

    I’m retired now and live outside the US. As a former contributor and member of ALDF, I applaud both you and the state of Oregon for the tireless, continued work you do on behalf of our fellow earthling. BRAVO!!!!!! I hope to be able to contribute more before I check out of Planet Earth Hotel……

  2. Paul Besher says:

    YES! Good job guy! about time someone on that side started doing the right thing!! Bravo sir

  3. Tommy DeSantis says:

    Good job, eager to see a dedicated full-time animal cruelty prosecutor here in Florida, where we have a large of amount of wildlife to consider and protect.

    1. June says:

      I agree Tommy. Not enough consistency in Florida and still too many who think of animals, domestic or wild, are nothing more than assets that they can dispose of in any many they see fit.

    2. JUDY LENOIR says:

      Agree regarding FL, but this is needed in every state!

  4. Christy Myers says:

    This is such a wonderful and much needed service. Every state in the U.S. needs this in order to protect these precious animals and make cruel people pay.

  5. carol coons says:

    I am thrilled we have this courageous person on the side of helpless animals!!!

  6. Pamela Richardson says:

    Bravo! Jake Kamins is a true hero :)

  7. Sandra Radziwon says:

    A big thank you goes to Jake Kamins. I wish we had someone like him in every state. Truly the animals need such representation.

  8. Gay Pawlak says:

    Everyone state needs to have an animal cruelty prosecutor so that they can convict these criminals, because guess whose next they abuse, children and humans. Humans and animals should never in anyway be abused or harmed by others, and if they are, the long arm of the laws needs to punish them hard and not let them off the hook with small fines and stuip community service, which is no deterent to their crimes. Thank you for prosecuting them. Great, great job.

  9. tina max says:

    This is wonderful news. Maybe it could extend to other jurisdictions.

  10. Cindy Christians says:

    Thank You Jake for all You do for the Animals! It’s so great to know that someone truly cares and is finally able to make a difference in the lives these suffering innocents! You truly are an Angel for Animals1 God Bless!

  11. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
    Animals in Oregon are so fortunate to have you.
    Makes me want to relocate.

  12. D Donnelly says:

    Hooray! Wonderful, wonderful news!

  13. Deb Buckland says:

    Every state and every province needs an animal advocate like Jake!

  14. Leonor Pek says:

    Todo mi respeto y admiracion Jake Kamins por dedicar su carrera y su tiempo a “LOS SIN VOZ”
    me desmuestra que no todo esta perdido en este planeta y que aun quedan seres magnificos como usted y que tienen la sensibilidad a flor de piel.Espero y deseo que su vida sea dedicada a esta hermosa causa y que para otros Estados OREGON sea un ejemplo a seguir.
    Gracias en nombre de todos los abusados que sufren tanta crueldad.
    Leonor Pek

  15. Alan Weiskot says:

    Your our hero MrJake Kamins and your the voice for the animals . Joan Weiskott

  16. Deb Reis says:

    If only Wyoming would follow in your footsteps and Idaho and Montana! Thank you for standing up for animals rights. No animal should have to suffer by human hands….I hope America wakes up and punishes those who are cruel to animals and to our wild animals.
    Thank you so very much!

  17. Kathy Chadwell says:

    I am very interested in hearing what the sentence is. Thank you

  18. Mel Scamman says:

    This is great news! Every county in every state needs a prosecutor for animal abusers. Because this case was farm animals, we are inching ever closer to the happy day when abuse and neglect of wild animals will be a felony as well! For example, trappers can legally only have to check their traps every 72 hours in some states. During this time, the animal suffers thirst, hunger and terrible pain. Plus can not defend themselves from predators/ other predators. Pets are often also caught in leg hold traps and snares. Many are disposed of so the pet owner never knows. It’s time to make trapping, hounding and cruel, painful and barbaric forms of hunting illegal. The level of wolf persecution is epidemic! Wolves need to be back on the endangered species list permanently! With more awareness, change will come! As the song goes, Teach Your Children Well.

  19. Debra Riddle - Austalia says:

    Now I call this man Jake Kamins a real man, not afraid to stand up for what is right & decent. These two things are non-existent in this world of depravity today. Thank you Mr. Kamins you have my utmost respect, you are truly a wonderful human being. Keep the dream alive!

  20. Cathleen Blome says:

    Thank you, Jake! This is heartwarming to see the work you are doing in defense of animal cruelty. Being a strong advocate for animal rights and having a daughter who is an attorney with the ALDF in CA., it has become a passion for our family. Again, Than you, for the hard work and dedication you have shown for the cause.

  21. Great job, Jake. Kudos to u and ur staff.

  22. Claudia says:

    Thank you for the work you do. You are a true Hero!

  23. you says:

    I AM ECSTATIC THAT THIS IS BEING DONE IN OREGON. IT IS LONG OVERDUE..JUST WISH THIS WAS PRACTICED OVER ALL U.S. SPOLITICAL ENTITIES AND 50 States.

  24. anne faucher says:

    BRAVO!!!! A small step towards rebuilding my faith in humans

  25. Coralyn K. Sheridan says:

    Bless you for caring about and for those voiceless victims.

  26. Karyn Chapman says:

    Sorry, we need JAKE Kamins!!

  27. Steven Oliver says:

    Thank You Jake Kamins!

  28. Rena says:

    Congratulations Mr. Jake Kamins for standing up for the innocent voiceless animals, thank you. To have animal cruelty prosecutors all around the world would be the best idea ever. I pray for that to happen very soon.

  29. Noel Gould says:

    Great work Jake! We need more people like you doing what you’re doing. There is far too much animal cruelty across the board!

  30. Dr. Lori Ugolik says:

    We need more attorneys like Jake, fighting for the defenseless who have no say!

  31. Linda George says:

    Thank you Jake Kamins for being an honorable and ethical human being. These innocent and defenseless animals need more people like you. Bless you sir.

  32. Richard A. Sorgen says:

    I am a contributor. The news about a grant for a dedicated prosecutor of abuse in Oregon prompts me to ask: why not begin a nation-wide crusade to fund such a prosecutor in every state of the Union ? Millions of people would contribute. Money should not be an object. People in the country are looking for a worthwhile cause. Such a campaign could be
    widely announced. Let’s do it.

  33. cathy nolane says:

    STOP A LA MALTRAITANCE

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