Animal CSI: Vets learn how to investigate crimes

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A veterinarian who helped investigate the Michael Vick dogfighting case is training other professionals to assist law enforcement and prosecutors with criminal cases involving animals.

Melinda Merck is the nation’s leading forensic veterinarian. She’s at the University of Florida in Gainesville, where she’s teaming with scientists in the human forensics lab to train others in investigating cases of animal abuse, neglect and hoarding.

Since last year, police officers, animal-cruelty investigators, veterinarians and others have come to Florida from around the world to tap into the first-of-its-kind program, which has become known as “Animal CSI.”

Demand for forensic veterinarians has grown as many states have toughened their animal cruelty laws.

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