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2015 Webinars

Animal Cruelty Crime Scene Forensic Photography
August 2015
Presenters: Belinda Lewis, MS, CAWA (Director, Animal Care and Control in Fort Wayne) and Matt Lewis (retired detective, Fort Wayne Police Department)
Length: 1 hour

The photographic compilation of the animal cruelty case should provide a permanent record of the scene and even more importantly, tell the story. Your photography will compliment your narratives and support your case, but only if done properly. This webinar will cover the basic rules of crime scene photography and overcoming photographic challenges to present images that achieve your goals. You will learn appropriate crime scene photographic and processing approaches, proper investigative photography of impounded animals, injuries and wounds, and necropsies, and become even more proficient at ensuring your evidence is admissible in court. The goal is to put together a case that you are proud to submit to your prosecutor and one they will confidently carry forward with a successful prosecution. Note: Due to the nature of this webinar, we cannot avoid showing some photos of abused/neglected animals. This webinar will benefit investigators (law enforcement, animal control and humane investigators), prosecutors, veterinarians, and shelter staff.


Putting the LINK Puzzle All Together: Building Community Partnerships to protect Animals and People
June 2015
Presenter: Phil Arkow, Coordinator, National Link Coalition
Length: 1 hour

As awareness of “The Link” between animal abuse and crimes against the human members of the family has grown, many criminal justice agencies have not only launched specialized prosecution units but are also organizing multidisciplinary community partnerships and animal cruelty task forces. This webinar will review how animal cruelty is often a predictor and indicator crime for domestic violence, elder abuse and child maltreatment. We will look at several local Link coalitions and describe a 7-step process by which prosecutors can engage community agencies in a coordinated effort to prevent the many interlocking forms of family violence. This webinar is beneficial for prosecutors and allied professionals who wish to work collaboratively to respond to and prevent cruelty to animals and how it links to violence to humans.


The Animal Welfare Act and Working with USDA
April 2015
 Dr. Robert Gibbens (USDA/APHIS), ASAC Beth Dinkins (NE Region — NY office), ASAC Marla Fricke (SW Region — KC office) and Sarah Conant (USDA/APHIS)
Length: 1 hour

Dr. Gibbens shares an overview of the Animal Welfare Act and how USDA/APHIS’ Animal Care program has assisted during animal cruelty seizures and confiscations. Beth Dinkins and Marla Fricke speak to their experiences in enforcing the AWA animal fighting provisions, including logistics associated with caring for seized animals and working with state/local prosecutors and law enforcement.


Is there HOPE?  How and Why a Prosecutor should be Proactive in Combatting Animal Cruelty
February 2015
 Jessica Macklin Milligan (Assistant District Attorney, Harris County District Attorney’s Office, Houston, Texas)
Length: 1 hour

 The Harris County District Attorney’s Office is devoted not only to prosecuting animal cruelty offenders, but also in combatting animal cruelty through prevention and education. Assistant District Attorney and Animal Cruelty Specialist Jessica Macklin Milligan recently created a new program called HOPE (Helping Our Pets through Education). HOPE is designed to educate elementary school aged children on how to properly care for their pets and to understand the consequences of animal cruelty, dog fighting and cockfighting. The goal of this program is to instill empathy in our young people, to teach students how to recognize animal abuse, and to show them what they can do to stop it.  Topics of this webinar will include:

    1. Why the H.O.P.E. program was started;
    2. How it was started;
    3. How the program is being implemented in schools;
    4. A general explanation of the curriculum being taught to kids;
    5. How the students are responding;
    6. The feedback we are receiving from teachers or the kids;
    7. The ultimate goals of the program; and
    8. Why every district attorney’s office should be reaching out to their community to stop the commission of crimes, rather than just reacting to those crimes after they are already committed.

This webinar is beneficial for prosecutors who frequently work on animal cruelty cases or those that plan to start some form of public outreach, as well as those involved that care for victim animals or support cruelty prosecutions.


2014 Webinars

Can I Do That?
Ethical Issues when Working on Animal Cruelty Cases

December 2014
Presenter: Lora Dunn (Staff Attorney, Criminal Justice Program of the Animal Legal Defense Fund)
Length: 1 hour

Who can be present at the warrant execution of an animal cruelty case? After cruelty victims are seized, can the care giving agency publicize the details of the case to fundraise for their organization?

In our zealous advocacy for animals, we sometimes forget that lawyers, specifically prosecutors, are bound by certain ethical rules that may conflict with the interests of an assisting nonprofit agency. This webinar will address ethical issues frequently confronted by prosecutors, law enforcement, and care giving organizations in animal cruelty cases. Topics will include:

  • Working with nonprofits on high-profile cruelty cases attracting media attention
  • Handling evidence preservation
  • Privately funding a designated animal cruelty ADA in your state


Collaborative Animal Cruelty Investigations
October 2014
Presenters: Joe Stafford (Director of Animal Law Enforcement) and Rod Novotny (Animal Law Enforcement Training Manager) with the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, Colorado
Length: 1 hour

Learn how the people of Colorado Springs are working together to protect public safety and combat animal cruelty. Sergeant Novotny and Chief Stafford, of Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, will explain how they work collaboratively within their community to address animal abuse and neglect. Explore the steps to conducting a thorough and impartial investigation – from the initial report through successful judicial resolution. Understand the goals of your investigation and identify the key individuals that may need to be involved in a successful case. This webinar will benefit prosecutors, law enforcement, animal control, shelter workers, veterinarians and anyone participating in the investigation of animal cruelty.


Grant Writing 101: Securing Funding for Animal Care
August 2014
Presenter: Adam Liebling (Director of Grants Compliance & Communication Grants Management, ASPCA)
Length: 1 hour

Feeding, housing, and caring for seized animals can be a costly necessity within an animal cruelty case. Learn how to find and be awarded grants to help defray these unexpected costs. Presenter Adam Liebling will share tips and tricks to improve your chances of securing funding. He will also point out the pitfalls to avoid when writing a grant application. This webinar will benefit professionals in prosecution, law enforcement, animal welfare, and forensics who are seeking funding for their work.


Handling the Stress of Combatting Animal Abuse
June 2014
Presenter: Allie Phillips (National District Attorneys Association, Director/National Center for Prosecution of Animal Abuse)
Length: 1 hour

Do you work with animals that have been abused or neglected? Do you investigate or prosecute cases where animals have been tortured or killed? If you said yes, then you will invariably suffer from vicarious trauma at some point. Vicarious trauma is a type of emotional exhaustion that comes from observing suffering and trauma. No one is immune, yet it can be difficult to acknowledge when you are suffering. This webinar will take a holistic approach to recognizing the physical, behavioral, and psychological signs of vicarious trauma, compassion fatigue, and burnout. You will receive practical tips to help yourself and your staff stay strong and effective, so that you can continue to work on these cases and help our voiceless and vulnerable animal victims.Any investigator, prosecutor, or those working hands-on with abused, neglected or deceased animals will benefit from this free, 60-minute webinar.


Intervening with Children Who Are Abusing Animals
April 2014
Presenter: Dr. Chris Risley-Curtiss (Associate Professor, Arizona State University School of Social Work)
Length: 1 hour

Research has established a correlation between animal and family violence, as well as increased criminality. Childhood animal abuse may be an early warning sign of serious trauma based disorders; it is considered a first sign of conduct disorder in young children. Studies find anywhere from 10–33% of at-risk children have abused animals. Early intervention programs are needed for children who are abusing animals in order to protect animals and humans from further harm. This free, 60-minute webinar will discuss intervening with children who are abusing animals. Learn about the Children and Animals Together Assessment and Intervention Program, one of only two programs known to intervene with children who abuse animals. The speaker will explain the program’s evolution and trauma–focused ecological philosophy and discuss real cases. She will share lessons learned as well as implications and need for intervening with children abusing animals.


Investigating and Prosecuting Juvenile Animal Abusers
Length: 1 hour
Presenter: Jennifer Rallo (Assistant State’s Attorney with the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office)

Juvenile Offenders represent a significant subgroup of animal cruelty offenders. When children commit acts of violence against an animal the cases should be taken very seriously. Research tells us that juveniles who enjoy harming animals are more likely to commit future acts of violence against humans. This webinar will provide an overview of the prosecution of the youthful offender and offer practical advice in how to best approach building your successful case against a youthful offender and how to achieve the best sentencing results.


Pretrial Motions – The Framework for Evidence at Trial
February 2014
Presenter: Diane Balkin (Animal Legal Defense Fund, Criminal Justice Division Attorney)
Length: 1 hour

Pretrial motions are an integral part of trial preparation. Court rulings regarding motions may dramatically affect the substance and procedure at trial. The prosecution of crimes against animals is still a relatively unexplored area. This webinar will discuss standard practice motions, such as motions for discovery and motions to suppress evidence and statements. Additionally, other motions such as “other/similar transactions” (Rule 404(b)) and Frye hearings (regarding expert testimony as to pain, suffering, etc.) will be discussed. This webinar will be beneficial to prosecutors trying animal abuse cases, but also for investigators and anyone involved in pre-trial work involving abused animals.


Understanding and Prosecuting Bestiality
January 2014
Presenter: Jenny Edwards (The Chandler Edwards Group)
Length: 1 hour

Bestiality is an emotional, even taboo topic, and can present moral, ethical, and legal challenges for the prosecutor. The sexual abuse of an animal by a human is considered a paraphilia or sexual perversity, by the American Psychiatric Association, and is illegal throughout the United States and many foreign countries. Animal sex abuse can happen in any county or city, and occurs far more often than you might think. Over the past six years alone, arrests for bestiality have quadrupled. Animals frequently die or are severely injured after being sexually assaulted, and the abuse often goes undetected for years. This webinar will focus on techniques for successful investigation, prosecution, and sentencing of animal sex offenders. Case specific examples will be used to highlight offender characteristics, the rise in female offenders, and links to other crimes. 


2013 Webinars

Behavioral Assessment and Rehabilitation
of Animal Cruelty Victims

December 2013
Presenter: Dr. Pamela Reid (ASPCA Behavioral Assessment Unit)
Length: 1 hour

Dogs rescued from cruel conditions, including puppy mills, hoarding situations and dogfighting, run the gamut from friendly, sociable animals to extremely fearful—even feral—creatures. A behavior evaluation proves a useful tool in determining the best possible outcomes for these victims of cruelty. Resilient, social dogs may be ready for immediate placement in new homes. Some of the unsocialized animals come around with time in a rehabilitation program. In some cases, dangerous dogs can be rehabilitated to the degree that they are successfully integrated into society. Attendees of this free, 60-minute webinar will learn:

  • the subtests that make up a comprehensive behavior evaluation
  • the reasons for conducting a behavior evaluation
  • how to identify specific behaviors exhibited during the behavior evaluation
  • the techniques used to rehabilitate fearful, unsocialized dogs


Common Issues When Investigating and Prosecuting Animal Neglect Cases
November 2013
Presenter: Geoff Fleck (Animal Legal Defense Fund, Criminal Justice Program)
Length: 1 hour

This talk will address common issues that police and prosecutors confront when investigating and litigating animal neglect cases with an emphasis on three key procedural issues: (1) warrant writing; (2) pre-conviction tools to recover costs and get the animals out of the system ASAP; and (3) winning the merger of charges issues on the grounds that each animal qualifies as a separate victim.


The Dog in the Evidence Locker Problem: Managing Live Evidence in Animal Cruelty and Fighting Cases
October 2013

Presenter: Stacy Wolf (Vice President and Chief Legal Counsel for ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement Division)
Length: 1 hour

In an animal cruelty or animal fighting case, the arrest of the perpetrator is often just the beginning of a long road for the animal victims seized in the case. It may take many months, even years, before the criminal case is resolved. During that time, the animals must be housed, fed, and provided with veterinary care. While maintaining the evidence in a criminal case is a law enforcement responsibility, when the evidence includes live animals, animal welfare agencies often provide vital care while the case wends its way through the court system. The cost associated with this care, particularly in cases involving a large number of animals, is often daunting. Without the ability to defray some of the cost, local governments and animal welfare agencies may be dissuaded from aggressively pursuing these cruelty cases. This free, 60-minute webinar examines strategies for managing the costs of caring for seized animals. Learn about tools that could shorten the time during which animals must be held pending resolution of criminal charges:

  • Voluntary written surrender
  • Security posting and forfeiture laws
  • Seizure in place orders
  • Contracting for services and restitution orders at sentencing.


Bloodstained Dirt: Cockfighting in the United States
September 2013

Presenter: John Goodwin (Director of Animal Cruelty Policy, The Humane Society of the United States)
Length: 1 hour

What do public corruption cases targeting sheriff's departments in Tennessee and Virginia have in common with DEA investigations targeting drug cartels? What do large scale gambling facilities have to do with severe animal cruelty? The answer: cockfighting. While illegal in all 50 states, cockfighting thrives in the jurisdictions with weaker laws. Webinar attendees will learn about:

  • Cockfighting investigations and prosecutions
  • The state of cockfighting laws in the US and current enforcement
  • How to care for gamecocks in a shelter setting

This webinar will benefit any professionals in prosecution, law enforcement, government, and animal welfare who seek to combat this still pervasive form of animal fighting.


Forensic Animal Abuse Evaluations
August 2013

Presenter: Philip Tedeschi (Clinical Professor at University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work and Clinic Director of the Institute for Human-Animal Connection)
Length: 1 Hour

Over the past decade, researchers and professionals in a variety of human services and animal welfare disciplines have established significant correlations between animal abuse, child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, elder abuse and other forms of violence. Mistreating animals is no longer seen as an isolated incident that can be ignored. Animal cruelty is often an indicator or predictor crime and a "red flag" warning sign that other family members in the household may not be safe. We now know that causing pain and suffering to the animals and specifically animal abuse can be a sentinel indicator and predictor of concurrent or future violent acts. This webinar will focus specifically on new developments of performing comprehensive forensic animal abuse evaluations and accurately assessing risk to animals and people. Case specific examples will be utilized to highlight evaluation considerations.


Investigating and Litigating Equine Neglect Cases
July 2013

Presenters: Scott Heiser (Animal Legal Defense Fund, Criminal Justice Program) and Dr. Jennifer Cole (Equine Veterinarian)
Length: 1 hour

The investigation and prosecution of equine abuse/neglect cases commonly involve complex medical issues that are either missed by inexperienced investigators or mishandled by novice prosecutors. These types of errors create tremendous opportunities for the defense to undermine otherwise highly viable criminal cases. Be they issues about the application or admissibility of body condition scoring done at the seizure, uncertainty about the suitability of the conditions of confinement, or questions about the proper re-feeding protocol – once in the care of the state, equine abuse/neglect cases present a unique set of technical and medical issues that one must master in order to achieve the best possible outcomes in court. Investigators and prosecutors also need to understand the fundamental differences between handling equine abuse cases versus dog or cat cases. This webinar explains how law enforcement and prosecutors can fully address these distinctive issues to get the best possible outcomes for these noble animals.


Sheltering Animals & Families Together (SAF-T)™: A Solution for Abused Families
June 2013

Presenter: Allie Phillips, Director of NDAA's National Center for Prosecution of Animal Abuse
Length: 1 hour

Families who are abused often have pets and do not wish to be separated from them when fleeing their abusive environment. It is also unsafe to leave pets behind in an abusive environment as it may lure families back to the abuse. Allie Phillips is the founder of Sheltering Animals & Families - Together (SAF-T), a global initiative guiding domestic violence shelters on how to house families together with their pets. SAF-T enables domestic violence victims to leave abusive households without leaving their pets behind and at risk. SAF-T also recognizes the human-animal bond and that family pets can provide comfort, reassurance and healing to adult and child survivors.  This webinar will provide practical tips for prosecutors, law enforcement, animal protection workers, and anyone working with crime victims who have pets.


Cases of Animal Abuse: The Role of the Forensic Veterinarian
May 2013

Presenter: Dr. Rachel Touroo, DVM, Director of Veterinary Forensics, ASPCA Anti-Cruelty
Length: 1 hour

Veterinary forensics is a recently emerging branch of veterinary medicine. Learn about the critical role veterinarians play in animal abuse cases. In some ways, the role of the forensic veterinarian can be compared to that of a human medical examiner, however the duties of a forensic veterinarian are broader — they include the triage of live victims, examination and treatment of live victims, necropsy of deceased victims, evidence identification, and assessment of the scene and its effects on the victims. The forensic veterinarian can also be an invaluable resource in the evaluation of evidence and crime scene reconstruction. Those investigating and prosecuting crimes against animals will benefit from learning about the role a forensic veterinarian can play in the case. This free 60-minute session is part of the Prosecuting Animal Cruelty webinar series.


Animal Welfare Court: The Development of a Specialty Court Focused on Animal Abuse Cases
April 2013

Presenters: Judge Maria Felix, Kendrick Wilson (Deputy County Attorney) and Adam Rossi (Deputy County Attorney) from Pima County, Arizona
Length: 1 Hour

It is well documented that animal cruelty can be an indicator of future dangerous behavior. These cases may require unique intervention in order to ensure that the cycle is broken. Unfortunately, the high volume of misdemeanor cases handled in many courts prevents misdemeanor animal cruelty cases from being given the attention they require. What if you could create a specialty court to handle animal cruelty cases in your jurisdiction? Learn how a judge and a deputy county attorney in Pima County, Arizona, developed an Animal Welfare Court. Find out how they did it and how they ensured all stakeholders were included in their process. See how they collaborated with a local mental health treatment agency so defendants can be required to participate in an animal cruelty specific treatment model called AniCare.


Unique Aspects of Processing Animal Crime Scenes
March 2013

Presenter: Amanda Fitch, M.S., CCSA, Forensic Analyst, University of Florida/ASPCA
Length: 1 Hour

In recent years, the laws pertaining to animal cruelty have evolved significantly to include misdemeanor and felony level offenses. Because these convictions can carry significant sentences, judges and juries want to see the same standard of evidence handling and processing that would be applied to human cases. In order to meet this need, criminal animal case processing is evolving to include forensic testing, as well as specialized techniques and protocols. While many of the same forensic procedures used for human crime scenes can also be used on animal crime scenes, many prosecutors, investigators, and crime scene analysts are unfamiliar with evidence processing related to animal crimes, including the animals themselves (and sometimes hundreds of them). We will discuss why it may be necessary to adapt standard crime scene processing procedures when using them on an animal crime scene and especially before the scene processing begins. We will talk about necessary documentation and the types of evidence that are often associated with hoarding scenes, puppy mills, and fighting rings.


Blood “Sports”:
Investigating and Prosecuting Animal Fighting Cases

February 2013

Presenter: Geoff Fleck (Criminal Justice Program Contract Attorney, Animal Legal Defense Fund)
Length: 1 hour

Explore the horrific and clandestine world of animal fighting through the experienced eyes of a former prosecutor. Geoff Fleck will discuss specialized investigative techniques including effective warrant application and execution, the evidence to look for and seize, and trial strategies designed to insure a successful outcome in these often difficult cases. The session will address the challenges investigators and prosecutors are likely to face – including cultural and evidentiary hurdles. Fleck will emphasize the importance of aggressive prosecutions and harsh sentences – to not only insure a just verdict for the tragically exploited non-human animals involved, but the related crimes and human violence that inevitably result from the cruel abomination of organized animal fighting.


Allegheny Abused Animal Relief Fund:
Getting Prosecutors and Allied Professionals Involved in the Care of Seized Animal Victims

January 2013

Presenters: Deborah Jugan, Assistant District Attorney Allegheny County (Pennsylvania) and Dr. Lawrence Gerson (veterinarian)
Length: 1 hour

Prosecuting an animal abuse case is often a complicated, difficult experience. The law is continually changing and emotions sometimes run high in the local community as the case proceeds through the criminal justice system. During this time, surviving animals remain very much in need of veterinary care and shelter or foster care, as well as positive socialization with human beings and animals. Recovery for abused animals is essential to successful completion of the case, but many states do not make provisions for such care.

AAARF! (Allegheny Abused Animal Relief Fund!) was conceived by ADA Deborah Jugan a decade ago to provide financial care for abused animals in Allegheny County, PA, animal cruelty cases. With the help of Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala, Jr. and Allegheny County Treasurer John Weinsten, AAARF! was created and thrived. A 501(c)(3) organization, AAARF! has raised well over a million dollars in funds dedicated for the care and recovery of abused animals in Allegheny County.

Learn how and why AAARF! was needed, the obstacles overcome in its creation, and how animal abuse prosecutors can establish an AAARF!-type fund in their own jurisdictions to ensure that the victims of animal abuse return to health and regain their rightful place as beloved and loyal pets.


2012 Webinars

Handling Community Reaction to Animal Abuse
December 2012

Presenter: Allie Phillips, Director of the National Center for Prosecution of Animal Abuse at the National District Attorneys Association
Length: 1 Hour

Anyone who is involved in investigating and prosecuting animal abuse cases, and being responsible for the care of the animals, knows how passionately a community responds to these crimes. Depending on your response, you could be hailed a hero or you could experience your worst professional nightmare. A dismissive or sloppy investigation or prosecution, mass euthanasia of the animal victims, or ignoring the community response could negatively affect your job and the position of your elected boss.

This free, 60-minute webinar discusses:

  • how to effectively handle animal abuse cases from a communications perspective
  • how investigators and prosecutors can (and should) work together with animal advocates and the community
  • how to address positive and negative media response
  • how to build support in your community to spread a preventative message on animal abuse

Our presenter, Allie Phillips, has been a front-line trial prosecutor, animal rescuer, animal shelter volunteer, and now views these issues from a national perspective. Prosecutors, animal welfare professionals, and law enforcement will especially benefit from this webinar.

This webinar is part of the National Center for Prosecution of Animal Abuse/ASPCA webinar series.


Understanding Animal Abuse
November 2012

Presenter: Dr. Clif Flynn, Professor of Sociology and Chair of the Department of Sociology, Criminal Justice, and Women’s Studies at the University of South Carolina Upstate
Length: 1 Hour

Clifton P. Flynn, PhD, will examine cruelty to animals, focusing largely on the social and cultural factors that help us explain it. Drawing on information from his new book, Understanding Animal Abuse: A Sociological Analysis, Dr. Flynn will examine why animal abuse is worthy of serious consideration by researchers and policymakers. We will discuss social factors that are related to the abuse of animals, arguing that individual or psychopathological explanations of animal abuse – while appealing – are insufficient if we want to truly understand and reduce violence to animals. Dr. Flynn will focus on predictors of childhood animal abuse and examine pet abuse in the lives of battered women. We will identify characteristics of offenders, plus explore the roles of gender, power, and control in making sense out of the relationship between violence to animals and to humans. Dr. Flynn will also provide a review of legal policies and recommendations.


Anticipating Defenses in Animal Abuse Prosecutions
October 2012

Presenter: Diane Balkin, Contract Attorney with Animal Legal Defense Fund (retired Denver Deputy District Attorney)
Length: 1 Hour

Part of the prosecution strategy in any criminal trial is to anticipate the defense. There are certain defenses common to all types of crimes such as self-defense, identification, lack of intent, etc. Crimes against animals also involve more unique defense tactics and statutorily available defenses. It is critical for the prosecutor to carefully analyze his or her case to determine the strengths and weaknesses. The facts may be weak with strong witnesses or the reverse may be true. In this free, 60-minute webinar, Diane Balkin, a contract attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Criminal Justice Program, will discuss the most common defenses in animal cruelty cases and how to prepare for them.


Combating Animal Cruelty: The Past, Present and Future
September 2012

Presenter: Dr. Randall Lockwood, Senior Vice President of Forensic Sciences and Anti-Cruelty Projects, ASPCA
Length: 1 hour

Review the history of efforts to fight animal abuse and neglect in America from the early days of animal protection to today. The last decade has seen a dramatic improvement in laws protecting animals and the tools available to investigate and prosecute such crimes. There has also been increased attention to animals as victims of crimes, and the need to not only document the impact of abuse and neglect on animal victims but to also make efforts to undo the damage that may have been done.

We will review current trends in animal law, the role of professionals and individuals in applying those laws, and the public's role in continuing to strengthen and enforce animal protection.


Planning for a Large Scale Seizure
August 2012

Presenter: Joel Lopez, Sr. Manager of Operations, Field Investigations and Response, ASPCA
Length: 1 hour 

Responding to hoarding and other cases that involve large numbers of animals requires comprehensive planning. These cases involve medically and behaviorally compromised animals, often incorporate multiple agencies, generate increased media attention, and require extensive resources. This webinar will provide an overview of the areas that should be considered in the planning process and key issues relevant to responding to large scale animal seizures.


Trial Strategies in Animal Cruelty Prosecutions
July 2012

Presenter: Geoff Fleck, Esq., Animal Legal Defense Fund
Length: 1 hour

This webinar will discuss specialized techniques for successfully prosecuting animal cruelty cases. Learn about jury selection, opening statements, presenting the state's case, cross-examining the defendant, and making an effective closing argument. You will learn how a successful strategy begins long before the case gets to court, and how precise pre-trial investigation and clever motion practice can promote a winning outcome. The presenter will describe the nuances of evidentiary and legal tactics that can make a prosecutor's case and insure a just verdict for the vulnerable, voiceless, victims he or she represents.


Common Issues Law Enforcement and Prosecutors Confront When Investigating and Litigating “Puppy Mill Cases”
May 2012

Presenter: Scott Heiser, Esq., Animal Legal Defense Fund
Length: 1 hour

This one hour talk by Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Scott Heiser will cover a host of factual and legal issues relevant to any puppy mill case, including:

  • an overview of the USDA’s regulatory impact on these types of cases;
  • a discussion of the unique issues that must be addressed in drafting state court search warrant affidavits;
  • an outline of the key components of a thorough investigation;
  • a review of the enforcement and charging options that exist outside of the animal cruelty code; and
  • an overview of the issues attendant to the pre-trial transfer of ownership of the victim animals. 


Psychological Aspects of Maltreated Animals
April 2012

Presenter: Franklin D. McMillan, DVM, DACVIM, Director of Well-Being Studies at Best Friends Animal Society.
Length: 1 hour

The physical aspects of abuse and neglect in animals are relatively well characterized – they can be seen outwardly in the form of body condition and physical scars. But researchers in child abuse now consider the psychological and emotional consequences of abuse and neglect to be more damaging, and last for much longer, than the physical consequences. And yet in both children and animals, the physical aspects of abuse provoke the greatest outrage and attention among the scientific as well as the general community.

What is known about the psychological effects of abuse and neglect in animals? Can the effects be readily recognized? How damaging is it? How is it treated? Is this the reason some animals "snap" and become suddenly violent? Equally important, are there psychological factors that increase the chances of being abused – do certain psychological traits place an animal at risk for abuse? This knowledge may permit intervention that prevents, rather than treats, abuse and neglect of animals.


Foreclosure Pets:
Investigating and Prosecuting Animal Abandonment

March 2012

Presenter: Allie Phillips, Director of the National Center for Prosecution of Animal Abuse
Length: 1 hour

Companion animals are the silent victims of the continuing financial downturn. While record-number of companion animals are being surrendered to animal shelters across the U.S., far too many are being abandoned in- or outside of their foreclosed homes, most often without sufficient food, water or shelter. This results in real estate and foreclosure professionals finding abandoned pets (some deceased) inside foreclosed homes or locked in outdoor kennels. This webinar will discuss investigating the foreclosure pet case, including tips on proper legal procedures for seizing abandoned pets, and the issues that may arise when determining whether to prosecute and how to prosecute these cases.


Non-Human DNA in Criminal Cases
February 2012

Presenter: Mitch Morrissey, Denver District Attorney
Length: 1 hour

Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey will highlight several fascinating cases in which the use of DNA technology has aided in the successful prosecution of poachers, smugglers, rapists and murderers. From protected species to major caviar busts, Mr. Morrissey will explain how non-human biological samples collected by law enforcement all over the world have helped thwart some of the most heinous crimes. As a leading expert on the use of DNA in the courtroom, Mr. Morrissey is well-versed on leveraging critical DNA evidence to stop cruel practices and exonerate both human and animal “perpetrators.”


The AniCare Approach for Treating Animal Abuse:
What it is and how you can use it

January 2012

Presenters: Dr. Kenneth Shapiro and Beatrice Friedlander, J.D. (Animals & Society Institute)
Length: 1 hour

In 1998, California became the first of now 32 states allowing a judge to order those convicted of animal abuse to undergo psychological assessment and treatment as part of the sentence. In response, the Animals and Society Institute developed the AniCare approach to assure the training of human service providers prepared to work with both adults and juveniles convicted of animal abuse. Since then, we have worked to supply trained therapists by conducting over 60 workshops around the country. We have created a demand for use of the AniCare model by working with law enforcement, animal advocates and those in the criminal justice system to let them know about the availability of a treatment model specifically designed for animal abusers. In this webinar you will learn about the goals and approach of the AniCare model and how it can be a useful resource in your work with people who abuse animals and in animal cruelty cases.


2011 Webinars

The Veterinarian as an Expert Witness
December 2011

Presenters: Diane Balkin, Animal Legal Defense Fund and Dr. Rob Reisman, ASPCA.
Length: 1 hour

Veterinarians play a crucial role in identifying, reporting, and testifying in animal cruelty cases. This free, 60-minute webinar, especially for veterinarians and others involved in prosecuting animal cruelty cases, will:

  • Focus on the veterinarian’s role in the investigation and criminal prosecution of animal abuse
  • Discuss laws pertaining to mandatory reporting by veterinarians
  • Give practical suggestions about what a veterinarian should do if abuse is suspected
  • Cover areas that a veterinarian typically may be called upon to testify about, such as cause of death, whether an animal felt pain, and whether an animal’s emaciated state is due to due to starvation or a chronic medical condition
  • Provide tips for prosecutors to better prepare a veterinarian to testify


The Linkages Between Violence to Animals and People: Investigating, Prosecuting, and Protecting Families and Animals
November 2011

Presenter: Allie Phillips, Director of the National Center for Prosecution of Animal Abuse and Deputy Director of the National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse, at the National District Attorneys Association
Length: 1 hour

This webinar will explain the research and theories behind the linkage of violence to animals and people. Investigation and prosecution strategies on handling Link crimes will be discussed, as well as: understanding the importance of pets in American households and how they can become targets of abuse; the psychological impact of animal abuse on children; including animal protection in your multi-disciplinary team to better prevent, investigate and cross-report all forms of abuse; talking to maltreated children about animals; and practical tips on how to help abused families with pets.


Prosecuting Animal Hoarding: Why, When and How
October 2011

Presented by: Dr. Randall Lockwood, Senior Vice President of Forensic Sciences and Anti-Cruelty Projects at ASPCA
Length: 1 hour

Animal hoarding cases represent a significant proportion of animal abuse and severe neglect cases. These cases present several unique challenges to those who investigate and prosecute animal cruelty. The issues that prosecutors must deal with can include: Elderly, often sympathetic defendants; Defendants with one or more serious mental disorders, often undiagnosed, that may or may not affect competency to stand trial; Defendants who may be associated with so-called “rescue” organizations, with or without appropriate IRS status, and who may have many outspoken supporters; The presence of other non-animal offenses, including fraud, theft, tax violations and offenses related to the presence of children or dependent adults in poor living conditions; and much more. This webinar will review each of these issues and examples of successful and unsuccessful prosecutions with recommendations for best practices for preventing and responding to hoarding issues at the community level.


Tackling the Prosecution of Animal Abuse Head-On
September 2011

Presented by: Allie Phillips, Director of the National Center for Prosecution of Animal Abuse, a program of the National District Attorneys Association
Length: 1 hour

This webinar discusses why NCPAA was formed, and services and resources available to prosecutors and allied professionals. This webinar delves into the linkages between violence to people and animals to show how when animals are abused, communities are not safe. This webinar is primarily for prosecutors and law enforcement interested in or handling animal abuse cases; however, it is relevant to animal control and humane investigators, veterinarians, shelter staff and rescue organization volunteers.


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