How your pets can help solve crimes

Source: Irish Pet News posted 10th April 2014

Ever thought your pet could help solve crimes? Could your dog be the next Scooby Doo? A human footprint in dog poop, a dog hair on a bloody curtain, all you need is some doggy DNA and at the moment animal forensics are cracking cases all over the world!

The Veterinarian Forensic Lab at the University of California at Davis consisting of three forensic scientists and a few interns  has found itself to be very important. It has changed the way crimes are investigated and has prosecuted worldwide. The lab nicknamed, ‘CSI of the four legged world’  is the first in the nation and is dedicated to animal DNA profiling.  The DNA from animals can and has been used to solve a number of different crimes including burglary, sexual assault and even scoobydoomurder.

Decades ago this type of evidence would have been overlooked but today investigators automatically take any animal hairs, faeces, urine stains and tissue samples found at a crime scene. They also take mouth swabs from pets after they defend their owners against attackers.

In 1999 in Iowa, New Hampton a victim of sexual assault was unable to pick her attacker out of a police line-up. But, she remembered that as she stood near the man’s truck to answer his request for directions her dog had lifted his leg and urinated on one of the tires. Two days later, police found the truck, swabbed the tire and the lab was able to place the suspect where he insisted he had never been — alongside the victim. That conviction convinced every one of the need for a full-time animal DNA testing lab.

The lab handles about 100 cases per year and has even helped in solving a grisly homocide case in Indiana. The suspect swore that he had not stood at the spot where three workmen had been shot execution style. But police found a shoe print left behind in dog poop and collected it for evaluation. The lab was able to genetically match the droppings to the property owner’s dog and to a pencil eraser sized specimen taken from the suspect’s shoe. The suspect was convicted and is serving life in prison.

Even your birds can help solve a crime. On Christmas Eve 2002, Kevin Butler home was broken into. When two men stormed in to Butler’s Dallas apartment and began to beat him, his prized cockatoo ‘Bird’, tried to come to Butler’s rescue. He repeatedly dove down on the attackers, clawing at their skin and pecking at their heads. Sadly, police found Bird dead on the kitchen floor, stabbed to death with a fork. But in the blood trails ‘Bird’ created and in the valiant pet’s beak they found human DNA. The lab matched the specimens to the prime suspect and helped put Butler’s murderer behind bars for life.

Everyone has a special bond with their pets or a special way of communicating with them and now, thanks to the Veterinarian Forensic Lab whether the animal is the victim, the perpetrator or simply a witness to a crime, they can communicate to the courts as well.

Posted on 28th April, 20148:53 pm by admin