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ASPCA and University of Florida Announce Plans to Launch ASPCA Veterinary Forensic Sciences Program

January 15, 2009

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced its venture with the University of Florida to develop the nation’s first ASPCA Veterinary Forensic Sciences Program within an educational institution.

The ASPCA Program will promote the application of forensic sciences to veterinary medicine to aid in the understanding, prevention and prosecution of animal cruelty. It will be dedicated to meeting the veterinary forensic science needs of individuals and agencies worldwide, including education, research and applied casework. The Program will be established within the William R. Maples Center for Forensic Medicine, Department of Pathology, Immunology and Laboratory Medicine, College of Medicine at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

“Our partnership with the University of Florida will allow us to offer a dynamic program that’s not available in the U.S.,” said ASPCA President & CEO Ed Sayres. “We hope the ASPCA Program will help advance veterinary forensic science on an international scale and we look forward to working toward that goal.”

“This is a newly emerging field,” said forensic toxicologist Dr. Bruce Goldberger, director of the William R. Maples Center. “We are translating our knowledge of forensic science to a new field devoted to solving crimes against animals.”

The Program will also be directly involved in forensic work on animal cruelty cases investigated by the ASPCA, as well as acting as a resource to assist other agencies with such investigations.

“Having access to the advanced forensic capabilities of the University of Florida will greatly enhance the fight against animal abuse,” said Dr. Randall Lockwood, ASPCA Senior Vice President for Anti-Cruelty Field Services.

In addition to offering undergraduate and graduate programs, continuing education programs will be available through workshops for veterinarians, law enforcement, animal control officers and attorneys. Expected course offerings for 2009 include: Forensic Entomology, Buried Remains Excavation, Bloodstain Analysis, Bite Mark Analysis and Animal Crime Scene Processing.

“The ability to offer a joint forensic science and veterinary medicine education at the Bachelor and Master’s level is unprecedented,” said Dr. Melinda Merck, Senior Director of Veterinary Forensics for the ASPCA. “We’re excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with the University of Florida and to create a Program that can provide ‘one-stop shopping’ for veterinary forensic science needs for agencies and individuals.”

The ASPCA will provide an initial gift of $150,000 to sponsor a clinical professorship at the rank of Associate Professor and work with the University of Florida to develop the educational plan, research mission and define the areas of applied casework for the Program.

Details regarding the development of the Program will be announced at the upcoming North American Veterinary Conference (NAVC), to be held from January 17 21 in Orlando, Fla.