ASPCA, University of Florida Announce New Graduate Certificate Program in Veterinary Forensic Sciences

<p>Initial course to focus on link between animal abuse and violence against humans</p>
December 14, 2011

NEW YORK--The ASPCA® (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced a new graduate certificate program as part of its Veterinary Forensic Sciences Program at the University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine in Gainesville, Fla.

The program, which begins in January 2012, will consist of courses offered entirely online via the University of Florida Forensic Science Distance Education. Candidates who successfully complete their coursework will earn a graduate certificate in Veterinary Forensic Science. Applications are now being accepted.

"We are very pleased to be offering this opportunity as a complement to the traditional curriculum," said forensic entomologist Dr. Jason Byrd, associate director of the University of Florida William R. Maples Center for Forensic Medicine. "Many of our interested applicants either work full time, are bound by geographic restrictions or have other obligations that prevent them from attending classes in person. The flexibility afforded by this program will make it possible to take advantage of the ASPCA Veterinary Forensic Sciences Program, regardless of location or existing commitments."

The first course in this certificate program is titled "Cruelty to Animals and Interpersonal Violence." It will be taught by Dr. Randall Lockwood, ASPCA senior vice president for Forensic Sciences and Anti-Cruelty Projects.

"What we hope to achieve through this course is helping students gain a thorough understanding of the roots of animal abuse and neglect and the connection of such crimes to interpersonal and societal violence," said Dr. Lockwood. "Veterinarians and forensic specialists play a central role in the investigation and prosecution of animal cruelty cases, so it is imperative that they're aware of this link."

The ASPCA Veterinary Forensic Sciences Program is the nation's first such curriculum within an educational institution. It promotes the application of forensic sciences to veterinary medicine to aid in the understanding, prevention and prosecution of animal cruelty. It is dedicated to meeting the veterinary forensic science needs of individuals and agencies worldwide, including education, research and applied casework.

For more information about the ASPCA Veterinary Sciences Program at the University of Florida, please click here.