22/04/2009

Dublin SPCA To Host One-Day Animal Welfare Workshop

The Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) is hosting a one-day animal welfare workshop entitled 'Animal CSI: Using Veterinary Forensics to Make and Win Animal Cruelty Cases', on Friday 24 April at O'Reilly Hall, University College Dublin.

It is to be presented by Melinda Merck, DVM, Senior Director of Veterinary Forensic Sciences for the ASPCA and Randy Lockwood, PhD, Senior Vice President, Anti-Cruelty Initiatives, ASPCA.

It is an in-depth workshop on the special role that carefully collected veterinary evidence can play in animal abuse and neglect cases, including large-scale scenarios such as dog fighting, puppy mills, and animal hoarding. The workshop will explore techniques for planning how to process an animal crime scene, collecting and handling evidence, using diagnostic laboratories and outside experts, and working with prosecutors to package the results of an investigation to best tell the story of what happened to an animal.

In recent years it has become widely accepted that the abuse and neglect of animals can be an indicator of many other forms of family violence and ongoing abuse and neglect, including child abuse, elder abuse, domestic violence and mistreatment of the disabled. Cruelty to animals can also be a significant indicator that a child or young adult is at high risk of becoming a perpetrator of violence in society, perpetuating the cruelties that he or she has experienced. The link between animal abuse and other forms of abuse and violence will be explored as part of the workshop.

Professionals in law enforcement and animal welfare including Inspectors, animal care staff and veterinary medicine are increasingly asked to respond to situations of serious and violent cases of animal cruelty. Effective response to animal abuse and neglect requires more than recognition of the physical signs of non-accidental injury and neglect. It also requires an understanding of some of the motivations underlying these acts. This can be challenging for responders who need to be able to temporarily 'think like an abuser' to understand the actions that may have produced the situation that is presented to them.

(CD/JM)

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