ASPCA® Dispatches Mobile CSI Unit, Forensics & Animal Response Teams To Manage Recovery of Evidence in Wisconsin Animal Seizure

May 19, 2009

CAZENOVIA, Wis. – The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®), under the authority and request of the Richland County (Wis.) District Attorney and Dane County Humane Society, has dispatched its forensics and animal response teams, as well as its Mobile CSI Unit, to collect evidence in the investigation of an animal sanctuary in Cazenovia, Wis., known as the Thyme and Sage Ranch.

The ASPCA is evaluating more than 300 animals found at the site, which are being seized by the Richland County Sheriff’s Department. The ASPCA is collecting evidence for the prosecution of the criminal case, as well as lending the services of its special forensic cruelty investigation team, comprised of disaster animal rescuers and field service investigators. More than a dozen responders from the ASPCA’s Disaster Response team are also on site, along with the ASPCA’s “Mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) Unit,” a critical tool in the collection and processing of evidence at crime scenes.

"Animal cruelty is unacceptable, and we are doing everything we can to lend our support to this critical investigation," said ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres. "The ASPCA's Mobile Animal CSI unit is an important component in the effort against animal cruelty, as it offers the ability to work on-site with the necessary tools, allowing evidence to be processed more accurately and efficiently."

Animals are being examined on the scene and in the ASPCA's CSI unit, which brings both state-of-the-art forensics tools and unmatched expertise to crime scenes. The specially-designed vehicle is also outfitted with medical equipment tailored for animal patients. 

Approximately 300 dogs were discovered during the execution of the search warrant, led by the Richland County Sheriff’s department on Tuesday, May 19. Other animals on the property include horses, rabbits, chickens, goats, horses, sheep and llamas. Thyme and Sage Ranch holds the contract for Richland County to pick up stray dogs and small animals.

Animal rescue professionals from national organizations, including the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), American Humane Association (AHA), and Hooved Animal Rescue and Protection Society (HARPS), as well as local agencies such as Dane County Humane Society, are helping handle animals on the scene.  PetSmart Charities® is providing much-needed resources and supplies. Dane County Humane Society is also providing outdoor space for emergency shelter tents for animals involved in the investigation.