Investigating animal crimes can be a lot of work as it is, but dealing with large animals can make it even more tedious. Past Justice Clearinghouse animal welfare and control webinars focused on companion animals and urban wildlife. This time around we’re turning the spotlight on large animals, particularly livestock.
Joining us in this session as a resource speaker is Audra Houghton, the Director of the operations arm of the Animal Rescue Team (ART) of the Humane Society of the United States (HSYS). She’s worked in this field for more than 25 years in various roles with expertise in overseeing large seizures and field operations. In her current role, she is in charge of field response and readiness and other related efforts.
Some of the points tackled include:
- The scope of the terms large animals, animal cruelty, and neglect.
- A glimpse into the typical type of calls that animal control and welfare agencies recieve and the most common callers/complainants.
- Looking at the laws to understand how each jurisdiction defines specific terms related to the topic.
- Animals as property and the special provisions that provide animals with protection from cruelty.
- Lockwood’s research on the concept of the link and understanding how addressing animal cruelty impacts criminality and community safety.
- Determining neglect by looking at the animal’s condition
- A rundown of the qualities of a healthy animal versus an unhealthy one.
- Body Conditioning Scoring (BCS) – who can provide a score, the factors that contribute to BCS, and resources on it.
- Dental care, checking for dental concerns, particularly in horses, and problems that may be seen related to it.
- Hoof care and the conditions and problems that may arise from the absence of upkeep.
- Standards of care as the most essential element to consider in neglect cases.
- How to develop standards of care.
- Guidelines and specifics on what is considered adequate water, food, shelter, living conditions, and veterinary care.
- Establishing intent whether neglect is deliberate and malicious or just a product of lack of education.
- Guidelines when it comes to large-animal seizures that highlight:
- The value of planning before a seizure by fostering relationships with potential partners, mobilizing resources, understanding the law, and preparing for charges.
- The role of the livestock veterinarian on the scene and throughout the case.
- The importance of comprehensive documentation for investigation and identification purposes.
- Considering options, resources, and regulations for transport, handling, housing, caring, and feeding seized large animals.
- Coordinating with the veterinarian and prosecutor when dealing with deceased or animals in critical condition.
Points raised in the Q&A were about the fate of the horses after banning horse carriages in Chicago, and how the pandemic is economically impacting large animal owners’ ability to provide adequate care.
Resources and Handouts
- Body Condition Scoring – Beef Cows
- Body Condition Scoring with Dairy Cattle
- Equine BCS – A Better “Weigh”
- HSUS Animal Rescue Team Brochure
- “There was alot of great information covered. The instructor was beyond amazing and not only do I feel that I learned alot but I truly enjoyed it. Thank you.” — Jon
- “Level of content provided, Audra did a fantastic job of moving through information but not rushing.” — Amanda
- “This is absolutely great for those without the experience with livestock. Excellent job.” — Amanda
- “As a six-year equine cruelty investigator, in IL where livestock does not fall under companion animal humane laws, the information on cattle BCS was incredibly helpful to me, as horses and cattle can go hand and hand. The example of hock scoring was completely new to me, and I grabbed a quick screenshot for future reference. Audra is a great speaker, and very professional. Thank you for another fantastic JCH webinar!” — Jenne