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Forensic Vet Helps Prevent Animal Cruelty

It's Animal Week on Fresh Air; during these last days of summer, we're featuring rebroadcasts of our best conversations about animals and how we live with them.

Although assaults on animals were only declared felonies in 2000, Melinda Merck has been investigating animal cruelty for nearly 20 years. After years of legal and veterinary practice, she is now the forensic vet of the ASPCA.

Her book Veterinary Forensics: Animal Cruelty Investigations is a guide for vets and police on analyzing and addressing cases of violence against animals. Although there's much to be done on the part of investigators and pet owners, Merck says that there is hope: "We have seen a huge shift in taking these cases seriously, especially with law enforcement."

Merck is also the co-author of Forensic Investigation of Animal Cruelty: A Guide for Veterinarians and Law Enforcement.

This interview was originally broadcast May 14, 2007.

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