<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=342303822814161&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Victim to Verdict: The Veterinarian’s Role in Animal Cruelty Investigations Online Course

Access the on-demand information session here. The Victim to Verdict's instructors give you a sneak peek into the program and answer common questions you may have. 

Animal cruelty is a crime in all fifty states, yet continues to be a widespread issue across the country.

With demonstrated links to domestic violence and child abuse, animal maltreatment involves more than the welfare of the animal victim.

This online veterinary continuing education course will empower you to contribute to the fight against animal cruelty and make a positive impact for both the animals and people in your community. 

This course will prepare you to join a community of veterinarians and other professionals who are making a real difference in their communities through this impactful work.

OSU College of Veterinary Medicine students and faculty/staff are eligible for a full discount through February 1. Please contact your advising office or PACE for more details.

A Collaborative Approach to Veterinary Forensics

This comprehensive and engaging program was created by a veterinarian, an animal cruelty investigator, and a lawyer with combined decades of experience in humane law enforcement and veterinary forensics. It offers a unique opportunity for veterinary professionals to gain the skills and confidence to address animal-related crimes.

By bridging the gap between veterinary medicine and forensic science, you will be better equipped to serve as an advocate for animal welfare and the pursuit of justice in cases of animal cruelty by deepening your understanding of and engagement in recognizing, reporting, and responding to animal abuse and neglect. 

The course is ideal for those seeking to expand their role as advocates for animal welfare, enhance their knowledge and skill in the emerging field of veterinary forensics, and is designed for:

  • Veterinarians
  • Veterinary Technicians and Paraprofessionals
  • Criminal Justice Professionals 
  • Law Enforcement Agencies
  • Animal Welfare Organizations
  • Social Workers

"I recently completed the Victim to Verdict course and wanted to follow up to say THANK YOU. It was very comprehensive and did a great job of outlining issues, providing guidance and direct links to resources, and drawing connections between animal and human violence. The course and subject matter impacted me significantly as I have encountered this previously and it played a role in my desire to become a veterinarian."  ~Bonnie Elizabeth Dighero-Kemp

Victim to Verdict: The Veterinarian’s Role in Animal Cruelty Investigations Course Overview

The knowledge of what to do, what to document, what to report, and why allows you to go forward and confidently pursue justice on behalf of mistreated animals. 

This course provides formal academic training with interactive exercises and an emphasis on the practical application of learning objectives.

After successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Identify how the Veterinary Oath imparts a duty to respond to animal cruelty in your community.
  • Locate the relevant animal protection laws in your state.
  • Explain the foundations of criminal law and how they apply to animal cruelty investigations.
  • Educate your peers about the connection between animal cruelty and interpersonal violence.
  • Effectively report concerns by understanding important basic information to include and the role and responsibility of the veterinarian.
  • Identify and preserve relevant evidence in animal cruelty cases.
  • Articulate the differences in documenting a standard physical exam and a forensic physical exam.
  • Identify the ongoing responsibilities of the veterinarian after a forensic exam is concluded.
  • Describe the steps necessary to prepare for, complete, and document a forensic necropsy.
  • Articulate the differences between documenting a standard postmortem exam vs. a forensic necropsy.
  • And much more, see syllabus for full outline.

Every aspect of the course illustrates how very important veterinary collaboration is in this realm. 

"This course contributed significantly to my knowledge about Animal Cruelty Investigations - specifically the existence and role of organizations to help aid in the fight against animal abuse and neglect. In addition, I learned how to enhance my physical exam when suspicious of animal cruelty - such as recognizing bruise patterns. This program did a good job of reiterating that we, as veterinarians, are not responsible for the outcome of an investigation. I believe this is often a big reason for hesitation to report among some colleagues. I have already seen this course work in real-time and reported suspicion of animal neglect to law enforcement not too long after completing the course." ~ Dr. Lena Cordell, Emergency Veterinarian

Making a Difference

Whether you are a professional within the veterinary industry, law enforcement, animal welfare organizations, social work, or criminal justice system, becoming involved in combating animal cruelty is a powerful way for you to extend your impact beyond your office walls.

By understanding the veterinary industry’s role in reporting suspected animal cruelty and by providing veterinary forensic services in support of law enforcement investigations, you become an advocate for compassion and empathy in your community.

Your expertise is crucial in identifying evidence of cruelty, providing education about the humane treatment of all animals, and ensuring that justice is served. Collaborating with law enforcement not only strengthens your professional network, but also brings a sense of fulfillment and purpose to your career.

Your involvement can make a tangible difference in the lives of animals, shaping a brighter future for them and your community.

Veterinary Student & Industry Discounts

If you are a veterinary student or certain industry professional, you may be eligible for a discount:

  • Veterinary Students (including Oregon State University and other veterinary schools) – VETMEDUS ($200 off)
  • Nonprofit Employee – NP2024 ($120 off)
  • Veterinary Hospital Employee – VETPARA23 ($120 off)
  • Sheriff’s Office Employee – Sheriff2024 ($100 off)

Please enter this code on the payments page during registration to enable the discount. Note: you will be asked to validate your eligibility during registration.

On demand. Access any time.
6 hours (6 CEU's)
price (2)
$395 $295
Save $100 through June 30, 2024
Additional Information:
Download the Victim to Verdict Syllabus

American Association of Veterinary State Boards’ (AAVSB) Registry of Approved Continuing Education (RACE): 6 hours approved continuing education for Veterinarians and Veterinary Technicians

Ask us about Team Training. We can customize this program to fit your organization's specific needs.



Dr. Kris Otteman
Dr. Otteman has over 35 years of experience in veterinary operations, 15 of those spent leading medical operations and humane investigations within a shelter. Dr. Otteman currently serves on, and is a charter member of the IVFSA Board. She also serves on the APA Animal Cruelty Advisory Committee and consults for ALDF on animal cruelty investigations cases. 
Emily Lewis
In her role as the Managing Attorney for the Criminal Justice Program at the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Emily supervises and facilitates assistance in active criminal cases, working directly with law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, veterinarians, and rescue groups. She supports and trains front-line responders on search warrant drafting, evidence collection and preservation, and scene processing best practices. 
Linda Fielder
Linda has been active in the animal welfare and sheltering field for over 25 years in many capacities including director of shelter medicine, director of humane law enforcement and in her current role as Humane Investigations Manager with the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Criminal Justice Program. She is currently coordinating the launch of ALDF’s Collaborative Response Project which puts into practice many of the concepts introduced in this course. 

Past Students' Work

Take a look at some recent projects our students have created.