Animal Crime Scene Processing

VME 6052


Course Description:

This course places emphasis on practical operational procedures and learning, with immediate field application. Formal academic training in basic crime scene processing techniques specialized for the analysis of crime scenes involving injured or deceased animals, or scenes involving acts of animal cruelty is delivered in weekly modules. Focus is on learning about different types of crime scenes and on the recognition, documentation, and preservation of various types of physical evidence involving animal abuse, cruelty, neglect, and death. Information about the legal aspects and importance of search warrant procedures, report writing, testimony, and the roles and responsibilities of law enforcement, animal care providers, and veterinarians in scene processing is included in this course.

Course Objectives:

Upon completion of this course the student will understand what constitutes an Animal Crime Scene and how veterinary forensics, law enforcement, and legal experts work hand in hand to ensure a comprehensive and high-quality investigation. Practical approaches to crime scene investigations including role clarity, organization, reporting, mapping, and collaboration are introduced and studied providing the student with knowledge and resources that prepare them to participate when called upon. These objectives are accomplished with completion of 12 modules that include reading, video lectures and presentations, and review of specific case studies and examples. Competency in each module is demonstrated by active, independent participation in discussion posts, individual homework sets, and in passing quizzes and a final exam.


Module 1 Introduction and History of Forensic Sciences and Veterinary Forensics
Module 2 Animal Crime Scenes Overview: What is a crime scene?
Module 3 The Search Warrant: Drafting, Planning, Serving
Module 4 Processing the Scene
Module 5 Evidence Collection
Module 6 Advanced Crime Scene Processing Techniques
Module 7 Report Writing, Testimony, and Expert Witnesses
Module 8 The Animal Body as a Crime Scene: Gunshot, Sharp and Blunt Force, Non-Accidental Injury
Module 9 Large Scale, Hoarding, and Livestock Cases
Module 10 Animal Fighting Cases
Module 11 Sexual Assault of Animals
Module 12 Cases with Uncommon Species: Exotics, Reptiles, Fish and Avian
Module 13 Course Summary, Collaboration, and the Future

Requirements: None

Textbooks: Textbooks are not required. Reading material will be provided.