PENDLETON, Ore. (AP) - Animals can be considered victims of crime, the Oregon Court of Appeals has ruled on a neglect case from Umatilla County. The ruling handed down Wednesday sends a Stanfield man back to face sentencing on 20 counts of second-degree animal abuse. Scott A. Heiser of the Animal Legal Defense Fund called the ruling a "significant result" for authorities who go after animal neglect and abuse cases. A tip led the Umatilla County Sheriff's Office to arrest 68-year-old Arnold Weldon Nix at his farm in April 2009. Officers found "dozens of emaciated animals, mostly horses and goats, and several animal carcasses in various states of decay," according to the court ruling.