Veterinary Forensic Pathology

Veterinary forensic pathology is the study of animals who are harmed or killed during the perpetration of a crime or animals that are victims of or part of criminal activity.

Forensic veterinary pathology is a growing field that examines animals that have been potential victims of acts of cruelty or injured or killed as part of a crime. The importance of identifying acts of cruelty correctly is essential as they identify deviant behavior in humans that has high potential to escalate into child and domestic abuse, and even serial killing. Hunting behavior of urban carnivores, like coyotes, foxes or wolves, can mimic acts of cruelty when the body parts of the prey animal are found. How can the distinction be made? Forensic veterinary pathology has the answer.

Our service provides a forensic examination of diseased animals and animals that are suspected victims of cruelty or other foul play.

  • Forensic necropsy performed by a  ACVP diplomate specialized in forensic veterinary pathology
  • Necropsies performed at LADDL or at the recovery site (for larger animals)
  • Assist in processing of animal crime scenes
  • Collaborate with animal control, law enforcement, prosecutors, etc.
  • Provide expert second opinion on outside cases
  • Provide expert testimony in court
  • Provide expert opinion on wounds and injury patterns on live animals

If you believe the animal’s death was caused by any  of the following:

  • cruelty
  • neglect
  • animal fight
  • hoarding
  • other foul play

Process recovery site like a crime-scene (document surroundings, take photos/notes, and secure evidence.

Contact local animal control so they can remove carcass.

Call veterinary forensic pathologist Dr. Nanny Wenzlow so she can perform a forensic portmortem exam to determine cause and manner of death. She will be law enforcement main point of contact.

Submit request for necropsy using LADDL’s Specimen Submission Form.