ASPCA Forensic Veterinarian Debuts Unique Reference Text On Veterinary Forensics

Dr. Melinda Merck—Nation’s Premier “Animal CSI”—Publishes “Veterinary Forensics: Animal Cruelty Investigations;” In Bookstores This Month
July 10, 2007

NEW YORK, July 10, 2007 — The ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today proudly announced the release of a new textbook designed to better help veterinarians and animal welfare professionals in the understanding and practice of veterinary forensics. Written by Melinda Merck, DVM, who is a forensic veterinarian with the ASPCA, “Veterinary Forensics: Animal Cruelty Investigations” is a reference manual designed to give veterinarians, pathologists, and investigators the knowledge they need to understand the process of animal cruelty investigations, and to correctly perform the necessary forensic examinations of animals. The book is being published by Blackwell Publishing.

“The reason I wrote this book is that very few veterinarians and pathologists have been formally trained on the medical and legal aspects of animal cruelty cases,” said Dr. Merck, “which hampers their overall ability to provide effective support in the prosecution of animal cruelty.” “Veterinary Forensics: Animal Cruelty Investigations” fills this void, providing a thorough and straightforward resource on recognizing abuse, reporting abuse to proper authorities, and conducting medical evaluations that will hold up in court.

Available from Blackwell Publishing, “Veterinary Forensics: Animal Cruelty Investigations” will clearly explain the processes and practices of veterinary forensics as it relates to animal cruelty investigations. The book will be offered at a list price of $89.99. The book is also available in the ASPCA online store.

“The ASPCA is very proud that “Veterinary Forensics” will join the legion of educational resources available to veterinarians,” said Randall Lockwood, Ph.D., senior vice president of anti-cruelty initiatives and legislative services for the ASPCA. “This practical reference for veterinarians, pathologists, and students will not only provide them with essential knowledge for their continuing professional development, but, we hope, help to strengthen the investigations of animal cruelty cases across the country.”

Dr. Merck joined the ASPCA in January 2007 as a forensic veterinarian and frequently provides training for veterinary and law enforcement professionals nationwide on the use of veterinary medical knowledge in the investigation and prosecution of animal cruelty cases. She often testifies as a forensic veterinary expert for animal cruelty cases around the country, including cases involving animal hoarding, dog fighting and animal torture, such as 2006’s high profile “puppy torture” case in Atlanta. In addition, she is a veterinary forensics consultant for the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office in Atlanta, Ga., and also conducts veterinary forensic examinations for Gwinnett County Animal Control. She has previously worked in both private practice and animal shelter settings.