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The 101 Department: Animal CSI: Gathering the Evidence

Michelle Riley/HSUS
You’ve been investigating a case for several months and have finally obtained a search warrant. Maybe it’s a dogfighting ring, or maybe it’s a hoarding situation. Maybe a pet owner who’s reportedly depriving his animals of proper care has repeatedly refused to allow access to his property.

Whatever the circumstances of the case, you now have to approach the scene, warrant in hand, with the steady hand of a rescuer and the calculating eye of an investigator. After the animals are secured, your focus turns to collecting evidence. How you gather it may ultimately determine who will have long-term custody of the victims; it will also affect whether the perpetrator sits behind bars or walks away to abuse again.

But where do you start? Besides taking a few photos of the animals and jotting down some comments from neighbors, what else is involved in properly documenting a crime scene? Although not a complete step-by-step guide, the following primer can help you start learning how to collect evidence the right way, furthering your chances of a successful prosecution.

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