The Emerging Field of Veterinary Forensics

August 11, 2017 in Aerowood Animal Hospital

Veterinary students at Midwestern University in Glendale are taking a special course. They are teaching them techniques that are not a part of traditional veterinarian education. This includes crime scene investigation, evidence gathering, and court room procedural techniques. It teaches them the laws and trains them to work specifically within those laws as an extension of the legal system. It gives in-depth knowledge about crime case management. They will not only be looking for how an animal died, but they will also be investigating any evidence of criminal activity that led to the animal’s death and potentially arguing in court on the animal’s behalf.

Dr. Rachel Touro is the Director of Veterinary Forensics at the ASPCA and has some good insight to give on the work and life of a forensic veterinarian. In her own words, their job is to identify, collect, and piece together evidence from animals and their environment. They also must explain their evidence to law enforcement and the justice system to help them better understand potential crimes committed against animals. In her field, no two days are the same and they can range from being in the field and investigating a crime scene to being in the lab running autopsies to drafting up legal statements for court cases. In the end, they must be able to relay their findings in the language of the law to roust out animal abusers.

She states that it’s hard to remain positive in such a position, seeing cruelty displayed towards animal’s day in and day out. That is a drawback to her work. But she says it’s also very rewarding to free animals from terrible situations and to help bring criminals to justice. That is what you should think about while working that job, she says. It’s an interesting and ever-growing field with new opportunities for work springing up in many places across the country.

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