In recent years, the laws pertaining to animal cruelty have evolved significantly to include misdemeanor and felony level offenses. Because these convictions can carry significant sentences, judges and juries want to see the same standard of evidence handling and processing that would be applied to human cases. In order to meet this need, criminal animal case processing is evolving to include forensic testing, as well as specialized techniques and protocols. While many of the same forensic procedures used for human crime scenes can also be used on animal crime scenes, many prosecutors, investigators, and crime scene analysts are unfamiliar with evidence processing related to animal crimes, including the animals themselves (and sometimes hundreds of them). We will discuss why it may be necessary to adapt standard crime scene processing procedures when using them on an animal crime scene and especially before the scene processing begins. We will talk about necessary documentation and the types of evidence that are often associated with hoarding scenes, puppy mills, and fighting rings.
National District Attorneys Association
1400 Crystal Drive, Suite 330
Arlington, VA 22202