First veterinary forensics program created at UF

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First veterinary forensics program created at UF

New program envisions CE for DVMs on animal crimes, cruelty
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Jan 15, 2009
By dvm360.com staff
Gainesville, Fla. -- A veterinary forensics program, under development by ASPCA and the University of Florida, was unveiled today. The joint venture, believed to be the nation's first, will "promote the application of forensic sciences to veterinary medicine to aid in the understanding, prevention and prosecution of animal cruelty."

The program is built on education, research and applied casework, reports Melinda Merck, DVM, senior director of veterinary forensics for the ASPCA, and it will be established within the William R. Maples Center for Forensic Medicine, Department of Pathology, Immunology and Laboratory Medicine in UF's College of Medicine.

Dr. Bruce Goldberger, director of the William R. Maples Center, explains, "We are translating our knowledge of forensic science to a new field devoted to solving crimes against animals."

Initially, forensic coursework will be offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels, but university officials also see an opportunity for continuing education to veterinarians, law enforcement, animal-control officers and attorneys.

To seed the program, ASPCA shelled out $150,000 as an initial gift to sponsor a clinical professorship and work with the university to develop the educational plan, research agenda and define the areas of applied casework.

Courses slated for 2009 include: forensic entomology, buried-remains excavation, bloodstain analysis, bite-mark analysis and animal crime-scene processing.

"We hope the ASPCA program will help advance veterinary forensic science on an international scale, adds Ed Sayres, ASPCA CEO, "and we look forward to working toward that goal."