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Introduction to the Link and Identifying Animal Abuse

PT

Description

The Link is the connection between animal abuse and interpersonal violence including domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, and other forms of human-directed violence. Essentially, where animals are harmed people are at risk, and where people are harmed animals are at risk. Despite society’s increased knowledge and acceptance of this connection, there is little training provided for those who work with animals routinely, such as veterinarians, veterinary technicians, animal control officers, and animal trainers.

Even if one knows the Link exists, this does not mean a person knows where and how to make a report of a suspicion of animal abuse. Furthermore, if a person cannot identify signs consistent with animal abuse and neglect, then a report will not be made. Therefore, training must include identifying signs of the various types of animal abuse, including neglect, simple and gross abuse, organized fighting such as dog fighting, animal sexual abuse, ritualistic abuse, and emotional abuse.

In this lecture, we will discuss the Link, how to report concerns of animal abuse, and how to identify signs of possible abuse and neglect. With this knowledge, we can better serve our communities and the animals entrusted to our care.

Presented By:

Jennifer Woolf, DVM, MS

Dr. Woolf (she/her) received her D.V.M. and M.S. (concentration: Veterinary Forensic Sciences) from the University of Florida (UF). Over the years, she has worked in private practices and animal welfare organizations, including relief work at over 50 locations in the Boston, MA and San Francisco, CA areas. In 2014 she founded Woolf Veterinary Forensics Consulting where she lectures internationally on animal abuse, the Link, and veterinary forensics, as well as investigating and consulting on individual cases. She also works for Veterinary Information Network (VIN), behind the scenes and upfront writing articles and developing materials on animal abuse and veterinary forensics for VIN members and the general public.

Additionally, Dr. Woolf is an instructor in the UF Veterinary Forensic Sciences Online Graduate Programs, has published numerous articles and a book chapter on animal cruelty topics, and was a 2018-2019 Don Low-CVMA Practitioner Fellow at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine in the Anatomic Pathology Department. Dr. Woolf is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, the International Veterinary Forensic Sciences Association (IVFSA), and a founding member of the Alameda County Animal Cruelty Task Force. Previously she has served on the boards of the IVFSA and the Contra Costa County Veterinary Medical Association.