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  • Strengthen Your Career in Veterinary Forensic Sciences

    In partnership with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and the UF College of Veterinary Medicine, the UF Maples Center for Forensic Medicine is proud to offer an online master’s degree and graduate certificate program in veterinary forensic sciences.

    About: The ASPCA Veterinary Forensic Sciences Program

    The ASPCA Veterinary Forensic Sciences Program is made possible with financial support from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. The educational mission of the program is to foster the application of the forensic sciences to veterinary medicine through workshops, short courses, graduate research, case analysis, and distance education.

    Benefits of UF’s online Veterinary Forensic Sciences Graduate Program

    In the last several years, the penalties for animal cruelty convictions have gone from non-offenses to misdemeanor and felony offenses, which can carry significant sentences. As such, juries expect animal forensic investigations to present the same kind of evidence as human forensic investigations.

    This program is tailored for working professionals. Online courses are convenient and affordable. Students are accepted to the program year-round, so they can apply and start when it is best for their life and career.

    Areas of education in Veterinary Forensic Sciences

    The partnership between the University of Florida’s Maples Center for Forensic Medicine and the ASPCA started in 2009 with the introduction of an in-person workshop on animal crime scene analysis and a conference on veterinary forensic sciences. This partnership has produced a number of professional activities created to foster the application of the forensic sciences to veterinary medicine. These program areas include:

    • Workshops and short courses designed to provide hands-on training to law enforcement, legal investigators, and veterinary professionals.
    • A distance education program in veterinary forensic sciences created to provide a Graduate Certificate in Veterinary Forensic Sciences.
    • A renowned Forensic Services Team to provide expert assistance to law enforcement agencies and veterinary professionals throughout the United States.
    • The International Veterinary Forensic Sciences Association, which is dedicated to foster the application of the forensic sciences to veterinary medicine.

    Students will learn how to:

    • Recognize animal abuse
    • Properly document and process animal crime scenes
    • Handle and analyze forensic evidence
    • Collect and analyze entomological evidence
    • Understand animal cruelty law
    • Navigate the legal principles of forensic evidence
    • Interact with the legal community

    Who is this program for?

    Professionals in the forensic science and veterinary medicine field will benefit the most from this program, along with master’s-level students in biology, zoology, wildlife, and natural resource conservation fields. This includes, but is not limited to:

    Veterinarians and Veterinary Technicians

    Veterinarians and veterinary technicians are the primary professionals who encounter animal cruelty, conduct examinations, and become involved in a legal investigation. They are also most likely to render expert opinions in a court of law regarding cases of suspected animal cruelty. For these cases, professionals in veterinary medicine who are well versed in various aspects of forensic science are critical to a properly managed case response. Veterinarians are often responsible for the documentation of the physical findings of abuse, collection of associated physical evidence, and provide expert opinions in a court of law. Veterinarians may also be requested to assist at the crime scene by state and local law enforcement officials.

    Crime Scene Investigators, Forensic Laboratory Analysts, and Law Enforcement

    Professionals who are engaged in forensic science and crime scene analysis focused on crimes against humans often encounter acts of animal cruelty in their routine casework. The ASPCA Veterinary Forensic Sciences Program is also designed for these professionals so they can better document, collect, and preserve evidence from scenes of animal cruelty for the prosecution of the animal crime or for additional demonstrative evidence for the prosecution of the human crime. Since crimes against animals are well-documented indicator crimes of future violent behavior towards humans, law enforcement and forensic science professionals are keenly aware of the need to document and prosecute crimes against animals.

    At a Glance