Columbia, Mo.—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) has awarded the University of Missouri extension Law Enforcement Training Institute with a $50,000 grant to provide scholarship opportunities for those interested in attending the university's National Animal Cruelty Investigations School. The program trains students to become Certified Humane Investigators and is open to employees of agencies and organizations associated with animal welfare, including law enforcement officers, shelter professionals and veterinarians.
"The ASPCA is proud to expand the reach of this educational program and help professionals from all backgrounds investigate animal cruelty," said Justine Dang, director of ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Group Operations. "We are well aware of the invaluable skills and knowledge offered by the Law Enforcement Training Institute, and we hope to make the training and classes available across the country to more individuals who are committed to the welfare of animals."
"Through the generosity of the ASPCA's scholarship grant, our National Animal Cruelty Investigations School will be able to offer valuable training to caring individuals throughout the United States," added John Worden, director of the Law Enforcement Training Institute. "The ASPCA’s grant will allow jurisdictions to receive partial scholarships for their employees to attend our training and thus provide greater expertise in their animal neglect and abuse investigations."
The ASPCA grant will enable the university to offer nearly 170 partial scholarships, allowing employees of agencies and organizations with limited budgets the opportunity to learn the skills required to investigate animal cruelty cases in their communities, including animal fighting, puppy mill and animal hoarding cases. Last year, the ASPCA gave 50 partial scholarships for students to attend the school. Many alumni of the program have become leaders in the field of anti-cruelty investigations, including ASPCA Field Investigations & Response team members: Tim Rickey, vice president; Kathryn Destreza, investigations director; Adam Leath, regional director, Southeast region; Kyle Held, regional director, Midwest region; and George O’Brien, regional director, Northeast region. These alumni have played leading roles in many large-scale animal cruelty investigations, including the largest dog fighting seizure in U.S. history.
Classes are held at the University of Missouri as well as cities spanning 13 states, including Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Maine, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Over a four-week period, students learn all aspects of animal cruelty investigations from a nationally recognized faculty of law enforcement, veterinarians, animal control officers and other animal welfare professionals. Faculty will present on topics including evidence collection, exotic animal handling, animal law, interpreting animal behavior and criminal questioning techniques.
To apply for a scholarship to the National Animal Cruelty Investigations School or for a full list of participating cities, click here.