Partners in Investigating Animal Crimes

Partners in Investigating Animal Crimes
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2022-01-20
Unit 1 Presentation Materials: Partners in Investigating Animal Crimes
Unit 2 Transcript: Partners in Investigating Animal Crimes
Unit 3 Workbook: Partners in Investigating Animal Crimes
Unit 4 Recording: Partners in Investigating Animal Crimes

A collaborative approach is seen to be effective in the law enforcement and justice profession highlighting the importance of the different players’ roles in the case. In animal cruelty cases, collaboration is even more critical given the disparate elements involved in the whole legal process to prove the presence of cruelty.

This webinar’s presenters are Animal Legal Defense Fund’s (ALDF) Emily Lewis and Linda Fielder. Linda is the animal cruelty investigation manager for ALDF’s Criminal Justice Program where she provides animal cruelty stakeholders with the necessary operational and forensic support for their cases. Meanwhile, Emily focuses on assisting these stakeholders in animal cruelty investigation and prosecution.

Specifics covered in this session are:

  • The value of collaborative response in conducting comprehensive animal cruelty investigation and prosecution and how it allows the key actors to focus on what they do best.
  • A rundown of the key players in collaborative response in animal cruelty cases and their specific roles
    • Enforcement agencies’ responsibilities as community caretakers, educators, investigators, defenders and enforcers of the law, and providers of fair resolution.
    • The forensic veterinarians’ specialized skills that allow them to paint a picture of an animal’s struggles, life and death through scientific means, provide necessary procedures for the animal, and educate other stakeholders and the public on standards of care.
    • The animal care entities and their value in animal cruelty investigations by providing handling, capture, and transport services necessary in processing a crime scene and protective custody for seized animals.
    • The prosecutors’ critical role in facilitating justice where there was animal neglect, cruelty, or abuse through the legal system.
  • The potential consequences if the key players do not perform their duties which put animals, humans, and communities at risk.
  • Case examples were provided to demonstrate how each of the key players contributed to investigating and prosecuting animal crimes.
  • Challenges that animal care entities face in terms of budget and staffing which hinder their participation in collaborative response.
  • Challenges with animal cruelty cases encountered by prosecutors in terms of fluency in animal law, establishing burden of proof, caseload, prepping and managing witnesses, organizing and making sense of case files, records and reports, and concerns with living evidence.
  • The steps to build a collaborative response effort in your community
    • Starting by identifying your most valuable stakeholders.
    • Recruiting identified players, explaining the value of the collaborative effort, vetting them, ensuring that they understand the expectations and the commitment needed, and specifying the particular areas where their specialization will be utilized.
    • Building the stakeholders’ skillsets and cross-training so everyone understands the needs and requirements of everyone involved which impact the case.
    • Communicating throughout the process, improving based on lessons learned to plan for the future, and fostering the relationships established during the collaborative response effort.
  • Introducing the ALDF’s Criminal Justice Program and how it provides training, logistics, and financial assistance to those involved in animal cruelty case investigations and prosecutions.
  • The opportunity to pilot ALDF’s Collaborative Response Project that aims to provide tailored guidance for agencies to better investigate and prosecute animal cruelty cases.

Points clarified by the audience during the Q&A were about:

  • The additional education a veterinarian is required to go through to support criminal investigations.
  • Getting veterinary technicians to take forensic investigation cleaning to aid with animal cruelty cases.
  • Finding veterinarians who are well versed and willing to support animal crime investigations.
  • Legal options to avoid holding a seized animal in custody for too long.


Webinars in this Series with the ALDF include:



Or click here to view and register for other upcoming Animal Welfare or NACA  webinars on the JCH Platform.


Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “There is assistance out there to get my Animal Control Department up and running to a much better level than it currently is. I will be applying for the collaborative partnership project and hoping I can be approved to participate.” — Janis
  • “All was valuable.” — Ann Marie
  • “I had never heard of the Animal Defense Legal Fund. It was also good to think about collaboration and building relationships, especially in hoarding cases. More prosecutors need to be encouraged to take on more cruelty cases in my opinion. As an ACO it seems like there is too much hesitation.” — Tamara
  • “How inspiring! Thank you for sharing this information. It is great to know that we have these resources available to us.” — Kara
  • “It was good thinking about the girl that was eventually taken into foster care, because of the neglect/abuse she received in her home. I tend to focus on animals more than the family and may have missed other interventions.” — Paul
  • “I liked the collaboration information.” — Tracey



Founded in 1979, the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s mission is to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. The Animal Legal Defense Fund accomplishes this mission by filing high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm, providing free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are held accountable for their crimes, supporting tough animal protection legislation and fighting legislation harmful to animals, and providing resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law.





This webinar has been certified by the National Animal Care & Control Association and is approved for 1 Continuing Education Unit. Please refer to your NACA membership portal for current CEU submission process. Current NACA Members who attend the live presentation or watch the recording will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Animal Care & Control Association logo. Visit the NACA training page for a complete list of future trainings.




This webinar has been pre-approved by the Maine Animal Welfare Program for 1 Continuing Education Unit for the State of Maine’s ACO annual training. You can find more information about Certification, required annual training or submitting materials for credit at Maine’s Animal Control Officer Resource Page.







Additional Resources
2 years ago
After the Webinar: Partners in Investigating Animal Crimes. Q&A with the Presenters
Webinar presenters Linda Fielder and Emily Lewis answered a number of your questions after their pre […]
3 years ago
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Thoughts about Animal Victims from Jake Kamins
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5 years ago
Pre-Conviction Forfeiture of Seized Animals: Considerations for Justice Professionals
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5 years ago
Animal Cruelty Investigations and Prosecutions
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