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Veterinary Forensics: Animal Cruelty Investigations

Veterinary Forensics: Animal Cruelty Investigations

Melinda Merck (Editor)

ISBN: 978-0-470-34458-3

Jan 2008, Wiley-Blackwell

368 pages

Select type: O-Book


Animal cruelty is gaining attention worldwide. With the rise of mandatory reporting requirements for veterinarians and prosecution of animal cruelty, veterinarians and pathologists need the resources to properly assist in these cases.

Veterinary Forensics is a practical reference for veterinarians, pathologists and investigators. Written by a leading expert in veterinary forensics, it provides the background and resources needed to work with animal abuse cases. The book offers detailed and clear direction on crime scene investigation, forensic testing and forensic pathology findings, as well as guidance on handling evidence and conducting evaluations that will hold up in court.

Primarily focused on dogs and cats, the principles and techniques in this book can be applied easily to other species as well. Photographs highlight pertinent forensic findings in animals, and extensive appendices include forms for examination, report writing, entomology collection, body condition scoring, forensic kits, forensic specialists and labs, and web resources.






Chapter 1. The Legal System and the Veterinarian’s Role.

Chapter 2. Crime Scene Investigation.

Chapter 3. CSI: The Animal as Evidence.

Chapter 4. Special Considerations in Animal Cruelty Cases.

Chapter 5. Patterns of Non-Accidental Injury: Non-Penetrating Injuries.

Chapter 6. Patterns of Non-Accidental Injury: Penetrating Injuries.

Chapter 7. Patterns of Non-Accidental Injury: Burns.

Chapter 8. Patterns of Non-Accidental Injury: Gunshot Wounds.

Chapter 9. Patterns of Non-Accidental Injury: Asphyxia and Drowning.

Chapter 10. Patterns of Non-Accidental Injury: Poisoning.

Chapter 11. Patterns of Non-Accidental Injury: Neglect.

Chapter 12. Sexual Assault.

Chapter 13. Animal Fighting.

Chapter 14. Time of Death.

Appendix 1. Evidence Log.

Appendix 2. Evidence Packaging Form.

Appendix 3. Evidence Receipt Form.

Appendix 4. Live SOAP Form.

Appendix 5. Weight Change.

Appendix 6. Body Condition Assessment.

Appendix 7. Skin Condition-Cat.

Appendix 8. Skin Condition-Dog.

Appendix 9. Hair, Nails Condition-Cat.

Appendix 10. Hair, Nails Condition-Dog.

Appendix 11. Hair, Nails Scale.

Appendix 12. Necropsy History.

Appendix 13. Necropsy Worksheet.

Appendix 14. External Wounds-Cat.

Appendix 15. External Wounds-Dog.

Appendix 16. Fixed Tissue List.

Appendix 17. Preliminary Veterinary Statement.

Appendix 18. Final Veterinary Statement.

Appendix 19. Medical Record Certification.

Appendix 20. Exam/Necropsy Report.

Appendix 21. Tufts Animal Care and Condition Scale.

Appendix 22. Forensic Entomology Data Form.

Appendix 23. Entomology Specimen Disposition/ID Log.

Appendix 24. Entomological Sample Log Sheet.

Appendix 25. Forensic Specialists and Laboratories.

Appendix 26. Animal Cruelty Forensic Kits.

Appendix 27. Webliography

"...Covers [a] wide-ranging field, drawing together information that will provie useful to professionals from varied specialties - animal welfare officials, shelter staff, clinical veterinarians, veteirnary pathologists, and forensics experts.  After reading this forensics text, I find myself fascinated...." - Journal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation 

"This is a book that should be in every clinic.  I am sure that most... readers will have had an animal presented where abuse was suspected.  This book will be very useful in those cases."  - Veterinary Information Network

"From crime scene investigation and forensic testing to compiling evidence that will hold up in court, Veterinary Forensics offers a resource essential for animal cruelty investigators." - Midwest Book Review

“Dr. Melinda Merck is well-qualified to produce such a text. The author has included 27 appendices with useful examples of various logs, worksheets, and record and report forms. The book also includes a detailed index. Veterinary Forensics fulfills its intended purpose to serve as a practical reference and resource guide.” - JAALAS

“Help[s] fill the void in the forensic veterinary medical literature. Nobody could argue with Dr. Merck's enthusiasm and zeal to make us aware of an important topic that we would prefer to ignore, but should not." - Veterinary Pathology

  • Practical reference for veterinarians, pathologists, and students
  • Gives detailed and clear direction on forensic investigation of animal cruelty cases and guidance for conducting evaluations that hold up in court
  • Written by a leading expert in veterinary forensics
  • Resource guide for animal cruelty investigators and prosecutors