MULT219-0813: Handling Large Scale Cruelty Cases: From Planning to Prosecution
Enrollment is closed.
Melinda Merck, DVM and Diane Robinson
August 6-September 6, 2013
REAL TIME SESSIONS (RTS):
Tuesdays, August 13, 20 and 27; 9:00-11:00 pm ET (USA)
Course RTS Times in Your Area:
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In order to prepare you for a successful experience
in your CE course, we request you attend a Practice Session prior to the first
Real Time Session. Please arrive promptly at the start time; each Practice Session
is up to 1 hour in length.
For more information, please visit the
CE Practice Area
*The instructors for this course will be using audio which will require you
to have a headset or speakers to listen.
If you have any concerns regarding your computer's audio capabilities, please be sure to attend
one of the Practice Sessions.
Level and Prerequisites:
course will be open to veterinarians, veterinary technicians,
and support staff actively interested in and/or currently involved in the
investigation of animal cruelty cases.
VIN CE Course:
Open to veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and support staff.
This course has been RACE approved for veterinarians
and veterinary technicians.
This course is designed to provide the veterinarian and other responders
with key information on how to plan and execute a large scale cruelty response.
Though similar to disaster protocols, these legal cases present certain
important issues. The topics include the beginning stages of planning,
development of teams, animal processing and sheltering. Since there are
often deceased animals found including burials, the topic of burial
detection and excavation will be covered. Each case presents unique
challenges and the sessions will cover the considerations that should
be taken before and during a response.
This course consists of three (3) 2-hour Real Time Session, supplemental library materials,
interactive message board discussions, and a mandatory end-of-course test.
Successful completion (scoring 80% or better) on the end-of-course test is required
to earn a certificate of completion for the course.
*The lecture portion of this course will be an audio presentation, please be prepared to listen.
Upon completion of this course, the participant should be able to
- Develop an operational plan for large scale cruelty response.
- Develop an operational plan for sheltering of the animals.
- Recognize signs of hidden burial sites and properly document and excavate a grave.
Course materials will be available
in the course library prior to each Real Time Session.
Required Textbook(s): There is no required textbook for this course.
About the Instructors:
- Merck MD (2012).
Veterinary Forensics: Animal Cruelty Investigations, 2nd Edition.
Available in the VIN Bookstore (login for VIN member discount):
is a forensic veterinarian consulting on
cases involving animals. Dr. Merck assists investigators of animal cruelty
with crime scene investigation as well as the examination of live and
deceased victims. She helps with large scale operations including
exhumations of burial sites and examination of skeletal animal remains.
She frequently testifies as a veterinary forensic expert for animal cruelty
cases around the country, including cases involving animal fighting,
neglect and trauma. She formerly worked for the ASPCA as Senior Director
of Veterinary Forensic Sciences.
Dr. Merck frequently provides training for veterinary, attorney and law
enforcement professionals internationally on the use of veterinary medical
knowledge in the investigation and prosecution of animal cruelty cases.
She teaches workshops on animal crime scenes and the processing of burial
and surface remains. She is a member of the American Academy of Forensic
Science and the International Association of Blood Stain Analysts.
In addition, Dr. Merck applies her expertise to animal disaster responses
by providing training in Disaster Sheltering for American Humane Association.
She is a member of their Red Star Emergency Services disaster team.
Dr. Merck is a member of the Board of Directors for North American
Veterinary Conference and is Program Chair of the Veterinary Forensic
Science track. Dr. Merck is a founding member of the Board of Directors
for the International Veterinary Forensic Sciences Association. She is
the author of the textbook,
"Veterinary Forensic Investigation of Animal Cruelty:
A Guide for Veterinarians and Law Enforcement.
began her career in disaster rescue and
sheltering of animals when she joined American Humane Association's Red
Star Animal Emergency Services Response program in 2007. Having been
involved with Douglas County Search and Rescue team in Colorado and
a life time of work with animals it seemed like a perfect blend of
desire to make a positive difference for people and animals.
Diane worked for over ten years in public education and in 2001 completed
a master's degree in education and went to work as a public school
teacher in a program requiring the regular development of student
driven curriculum. The five years she spent in this program helped
to hone her skills writing course work which was used to develop the
Basic Animal Emergency Services student guide and training materials.
In 2012 the course was approved for addition to the Department of
Homeland Security (DHS) Colorado State sponsored course guide.
In 2010, Diane developed "Disaster Sheltering for Companion Animals
which quickly became the most demanded and attended course in the Emergency
Services training series. Over the past three years the course has gone
on to train hundreds of people and organizations throughout the country
and is currently being reviewed for training approval by DHS.
In nearly six years as part of the Red Star team Diane deployed to a
multitude of disasters ranging from floods and hurricanes to legal
seizures, including a high profile forensic case in Whistler, BC.
Her experience first as a responder capturing and caring for the animals
affected by disaster then as Shelter Supervisor provided her with real
life experience which she uses to apply to the training programs and
disaster planning services to assist communities, organizations and
(Real Time Session August 13, 2013):
Scene Processing and Examination of the Animals
Instructor(s): Melinda Merck, DVM
This session will cover the details of how to assess and process
a large scale cruelty scene. The preplanning for these types of cases
will be covered including developing medical teams, removal teams,
triage and exam considerations.
(Real Time Session August 20, 2013):
Animal Sheltering for Criminal Cases
Instructor(s): Diane Robinson (Disaster Animal Shelter Education and Response)
This session will cover the considerations for the setup and operation
of an animal shelter for legal cases.
It will outline special considerations for working with these animals, paperwork
and recordkeeping, intake procedure, setup and care.
(Real Time Session August 27, 2013):
Clandestine Burial Detection, Excavation and Surface Remains
Instructor(s): Melinda Merck, DVM
This session will cover characteristics of hidden burials, how to process the scene,
burial mapping and excavation techniques.
CE CREDITS: 6
$120 ($108 early bird special if enrolled by July 23, 2013)
*To ensure participants are ready and prepared for classes, enrollment will close
at 5pm ET 8/15/2013 or when the maximum number of participants is reached.
*For more information on how online CE works, see the
Participant Resource Center
Enrollment is closed.
- Enrollment qualifications: VIN CE courses are open to
VIN member and non-member veterinarians. Veterinarians enrolling in a VSPN CE course
must be a VIN member. Veterinary support staff must be a VSPN member to enroll in a
VSPN CE or a VIN CE course open to VSPN member enrollment.
- Each enrollee must be able to receive emails from @vspn.org
and @vin.com addresses. Email is our major form of communication with participants;
personal emails are highly recommended rather than clinic/hospital email addresses.
- Each person is individually responsible for his/her own registration.
To ensure that all information received is secure and correct, please do not enroll
for a course on behalf of another individual.
- For further assistance call 1-800-700-INFO (4636) or email (VIN CE)
CEonVIN@vin.com or (VSPN CE)
Please include the course title, your full name, and contact information in your correspondence.
*Note: "This course is approved for 6 continuing education credits in jurisdictions
which recognize AAVSB 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 VSPN/VIN CE at 1-800-700-4636 for further information.
(Attendees are encouraged to check with their licensing jurisdiction(s) for
information regarding recognition by their board).
Course withdrawal and refund policy:
A complete refund of the paid course price will be
issued when your withdrawal request is received prior to the listed start date of the course.
If you wish to withdraw after the start date please contact the VIN/VSPN office 1-800-700-INFO (4636)
to discuss eligibility for a pro-rated refund.
* Note: To ensure rapid handling of your request for withdrawal, we recommend that you
call the VIN/VSPN office at 1-800-700-INFO (4636).
*For more information on VSPN's upcoming CE courses, check the
VSPN Course Catalog
Katherine James, DVM, PhD, DACVIM (SAIM)
VIN Education Coordinator
VIN CE Services: CEonVIN@vin.com
1-800-846-0028 or 1-530-756-4881 or direct line to VIN/VSPN from the United Kingdom: 01452226154
Andrea Pomposo (Andrea@vin.com
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