ASPCA® Opens Veterinary Forensic Science Center to Support Animal Cruelty Cases Nationwide

First-ever forensic laboratory for companion animals in the U.S. will offer free forensic services to assist law enforcement with investigations and prosecutions
December 3, 2020

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced it has opened the ASPCA Veterinary Forensic Science Center, the first-ever forensic laboratory to support law enforcement across the country with suspected companion animal cruelty cases. The 3,000 square-foot facility, based in Gainesville, Fla., is staffed with five veterinary forensic experts equipped to assist law enforcement with animal cruelty investigations and prosecutions through services such as necropsies, live animal forensic exams, and forensic osteology. The Center will also serve as a teaching facility to share learnings with other animal welfare professionals to help prevent and respond to animal cruelty in communities nationwide.

“Veterinary forensic science is a rapidly evolving and essential tool in the fight against animal cruelty,” said Dr. Rachel Touroo, senior director of ASPCA Veterinary Forensic Sciences. “We are thrilled to expand our work in veterinary forensic sciences through the opening of this facility to further elevate the status of animals in the eyes of the law and help tackle and prevent violence against animals.”

The opening of the ASPCA Veterinary Forensic Science Center expands on the ASPCA’s existing efforts to support law enforcement with suspected animal cruelty cases across the country. In addition to accepting requests for forensic analysis at the Center, ASPCA experts will continue to support criminal casework through animal crime scene response efforts and expert witness testimony in court. Crime scene support provided in the field includes the documentation, collection and analysis of physical evidence in large-scale cruelty cases such as suspected dogfighting and puppy mills cases. Over the past 10 years, the ASPCA has assisted law enforcement with more than 1,000 criminal investigations involving animals, including providing veterinary forensic support. 

Earlier this year, ASPCA forensic veterinarians collaborated with experts at Florida International University and Tufts University to develop the first and only peer-reviewed publication on veterinary forensic sciences clinical standards and best practices to ensure appropriate steps are taken to identify, document and preserve evidence in crimes involving animals.

For more information about the ASPCA’s Veterinary Forensic Science efforts, please visit