Veterinarian testimony is often a key component to successfully prosecuting animal cruelty cases.
Melinda Merck, DVM, owns Veterinary Forensics Consulting in Austin, TX. She works with law enforcement in animal welfare cases and prepares other veterinarians to testify in criminal animal abuse cases.
Dr. Merck advises it is important to look at each state’s animal cruelty laws to see if they address both pain and suffering in animals. Whether intermittent, short-term or chronic, she recommends looking at the animal’s level of emotional suffering when evaluating criminal animal abuse cases.
Evidence collection is an important part of veterinary forensics along with its analysis. Video captures signs of negative emotions in an abused animal, like depression or anxiety. It is useful for also evaluating the absence of positive emotional signs.
Dr. Merck says distress is how animals cope with something unpleasant. The cause may be pain, thirst or hunger. She recommends also considering the effects of the animal’s injuries.
Dr. Merck says this is another way vets can speak for animals. For more go here.