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MULT204-1007: The Veterinarian's Role in Handling Animal Abuse Cases

Lila Miller, DVM; ASPCA, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Shelter Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University
Robert Reisman, DVM; ASPCA
Melinda Merck, DVM; ASPCA
Randy Lockwood, Ph.D; ASPCA

October 30 - December 11, 2007
Real-time sessions: Tuesdays, October 30, November 6, 12 (this session is on a Monday), 20, 27, December 4; 9:30 - 11:30 pm EST (USA)


The veterinary profession is being increasingly challenged to recognize, report and document animal abuse and cruelty as it is encountered in their practices, and to assist law enforcement in the prosecution of these cases. This course on animal cruelty will provide an overview of the legal and ethical considerations for veterinarians, discuss the link between animal abuse and human violence, and provide guidelines for recognizing abuse, examining the live victim, performing forensic necropsies and testifying in court.

Veterinarians and veterinary staff are seeing increasing numbers of dogs involved in animal fighting in their practices. The instructors have expanded this course from its last offering in 2005 to include a week on animal fighting.

Course Outline:

Week 1 (October 30):
Definitions, issues and concerns regarding animal abuse. (Miller)

Week 2 (November 6):
Recognizing and documenting animal abuse cases.
Examination of the victim. (Reisman)

Week 3 (November 12) (Monday):
The link between animal abuse and human violence.
Testifying in court. (Lockwood)

Week 4 (November 20):
Animal fighting (Lockwood, Miller)

Week 5 (November 27):
Veterinary forensics, part 1 (Merck)

Week 6 (December 4):
Veterinary forensics, part 2 (Merck)

Required Textbook*:
Forensic Investigation of Animal Cruelty - Sinclair, Merck, Lockwood - 2006 Available from online textbook retailers.

Recommended Textbooks:
Shelter Medicine for Veterinarians and Staff - Miller, Zawistowski - 2004
Available in the VIN bookstore:
Be sure to login to receive your member discount.

Recognizing and Reporting Animal Abuse: A Veterinarian's Guide - 1998

Veterinary Forensics: Animal Cruelty Investigations - Merck - 2007
Available from online textbook retailers.

*Selected weeks of the course will have assigned reading; however, if you opt to not purchase the required textbook, we will have many other materials in the course library for reading and you will be able to keep up with the course topics.

Discussions will begin on the start date of the course and will continue for 7 days following the last real time session.

CE HOURS: 12 CE Credits

Member/$200, Non-Member/$299 by October 16,2007;
Member/$222, Non-Member/$332 after October 16,2007
Course is open to veterinarians and VSPN members.

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Or call 1-800-700-INFO (4636) or email, and list the course title, your full name, and your preferred method of payment (credit card, check).

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Note: "This course has been submitted (but not yet approved) for 12 hours of continuing education credits in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB's RACE approval; however participants should be aware that some boards have limitations on the number of hours accepted in certain categories and/or restrictions on certain methods of delivery of continuing education. Call VIN for further information."

(Attendees are encouraged to check with their licensing jurisdiction(s) for information regarding recognition by the board.)

COURSE WITHDRAWAL AND REFUND POLICY: Withdrawal prior to the listed start date of a course entitles the registrant to a complete refund or a credit toward a future VIN CE course, whichever is preferred. Withdrawal within 1 week after the listed start date (i.e. including no more than one real-time session) entitles the registrant to a credit toward any future VIN CE course. (Does not apply to courses with only one real-time session.) After the first real-time session, a registrant may withdraw due to special circumstances and receive prorated credit towards a future VIN course. These requests will be handled on an individual basis. The amount of the prorated credit will be determined based on 65% of the time remaining in the course at the time of withdrawal. It is not possible to withdraw retroactively.

Note: To ensure rapid handling of your request for withdrawal, we recommend that you call the VIN office at 1-800-700-INFO.

Debbie Friedler
Continual Education Division
Veterinary Information Network


800.700.4636  |  |  530.756.4881  |  Fax: 530.756.6035
777 West Covell Blvd, Davis, CA 95616

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