Animal detectives solve animal-related crimes and protect animals from intentional harm and negligence. They are a group of people who simply want to help their furry, feathered, slimy or scaly friends. Take this quiz to learn more about the role of animal detectives.
Animal detectives are sometimes referred to as humane law enforcement officers, animal cops and cruelty investigators. These people are trained professionals whose job is to help hurt or neglected animals and enforce animal cruelty laws.
Under the Animal Welfare Act pets, research animals and animals used for exhibition must be treated humanely. Livestock are excluded from the act. However, organizations such as the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the American Humane Society and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) ensure the protection of both pets and livestock.
The ASPCA was the first animal welfare organization in the U.S. It was founded in 1866 and continues to fight for animal rights nearly 150 years later.
HSUS is the largest animal protection agency in the U.S. today.
The American Humane Association was founded in 1877, not long after the founding of the ASPCA. However, American Humane fights cruelty to children as well as to animals.
Many animal detectives are granted similar authority to police officers, enabling them to make arrests, serve search warrants and use reasonable force against perpetrators. Most animal detectives carry badges and wear uniforms. Some may carry firearms.
An animal detective will be authorized to carry a firearm only after adequate weapons training.
Each state legislates its own anti-cruelty laws and is responsible for enforcing them. As of July 2008, 45 states of the U.S. had enacted felony-level penalties.
There are two main categories of animal anti-cruelty laws. The first is intentional acts, when a person knowingly causes harm to an animal. The second is failure to act, where a person is negligent in animal care, failing to provide food water or shelter to an animal.
You may find yourself doing time in prison if you are found guilty of animal abuse.
Alabama has some of the strictest animal cruelty punishments in the U.S. You may find yourself in jail for up to 10 years if found guilty of certain types of animal abuse.
Forensic science is used to piece together a crime scene of animal abuse. The forensic laboratory is set up similar to the forensic laboratories of the FBI.
Before a proper animal forensic laboratory was created, the ASPCA launched a mobile animal crime scene unit. It included equipment such as X-ray machines, computers, examination tables and video equipment.
In 1970 the U.S. Department of Interior assigned Terry Grosz, a special agent of the Division of Law Enforcement for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, with the task of coordinating investigations for all endangered species around the country. The forensic laboratory opened in Ashland, Oregon, in 1988 and is the only laboratory of its kind.
The laboratory is connected with 173 countries, trying to solve mysteries such as cause of death and who the perpetrator was.
CITES stands for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which includes 173 countries. The agreement was drafted in 1963 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and supervises the trade of wild plants and animals.
Over 30,000 species of plants, animals, furs, dried herbs and other natural products made from endangered species are protected under the CITES agreement.
The genetics branch of the laboratory identify information such as the victim's species or gender from a drop of blood or piece of body tissue. The pathology branch can determine the cause of death by examining carcasses, wounds and even stomach contents.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Forensics Laboratory handles around 900 cases each year with a staff of 33.
The path to becoming an animal detective is not yet defined. However, one is generally required to have a related degree or experience with animals or law enforcement.