Press Release

Endorsement for New Course Outlining Veterinarians Role in Animal Cruelty Investigations

Two Animal Legal Defense Fund staff members are joined by an expert forensic veterinarian as instructors with decades of experience in animal cruelty investigations


SAN FRANCISCO — Today, the Animal Legal Defense Fund announced its endorsement for a new online course titled Victim to Verdict: The Veterinarian’s Role in Animal Cruelty Investigations, which will empower veterinarians to contribute to the fight against animal cruelty and make a positive impact for both the animals and people in their community. The on-demand course, which follows a book with the same name, was developed by the instructors: Animal Legal Defense Fund staff members Emily Lewis, managing attorney, and Linda Fielder, animal cruelty investigations manager, as well as Dr. Kris Otteman, president elect of the International Veterinary Forensic Sciences Association and courtesy faculty for Carlson College of Veterinary Medicine, Oregon State University.

“Veterinarians are crucial frontline responders to animal cruelty in every community, without exception,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Criminal Justice Program Director Lora Dunn. “As experts, they play a vital role in addressing these crimes and protecting animal victims. This comprehensive training resource for veterinarians on this topic — created by leading professionals in the field — is long overdue. The Animal Legal Defense Fund is proud to endorse this course for all stakeholders involved in the fight against animal cruelty.”

The course provides formal academic training emphasizing the practical application of learning objectives upon completion. Part one of the course provides foundational knowledge about the legal system specific to criminal animal cruelty offenses and underscores why responding to concerns about animal cruelty is vitally important. This part of the course also explains the essential and diverse role of the veterinarian when responding to animal cruelty. Part two of the course delves into the specific processes that veterinarians can utilize to effectively contribute to animal cruelty investigations. Participants will learn how to conduct a veterinary forensic examination and form treatment plans for living victims as well as veterinary forensic necropsy on animal remains.

Animal Legal Defense Fund’s attorneys have expertise in criminal animal law, including in-the-trenches prosecution experience. The Animal Legal Defense Fund works with state legislators to strengthen criminal animal protection laws, provides free legal assistance to prosecutors, law enforcement, judges, and veterinarians handling animal cruelty cases, and files groundbreaking lawsuits to stop animal abuse and expand the boundaries of animal law.

The course tuition costs $395 but is discounted by $100 until Feb. 2, 2024. The course tuition for veterinary students is $95. To register for the course, please visit the course website here.

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