HSVMA Partners with Massachusetts VMA to Offer Training in Animal Abuse Reporting

Veterinarians are now mandated reporters of animal abuse in Massachusetts, and the reporting process is not always clear to practitioners. To help address this issue, HSVMA sponsored a six-hour track at the recent Massachusetts VMA Spring Conference (May 2018) on the topic of animal abuse reporting.  Several local speakers were included in this seminar entitled, “Reporting Suspected Abuse in Massachusetts: Demystifying the Process.”

Dr. Lorna Grande (HSVMA’s continuing education adviser) presented in her role as founder/coordinator of HAVEN: Human Animal Violence Education Network. HAVEN is a coalition of MA citizens and professionals who come together to raise awareness about the connection between animal cruelty and human violence.

 Other local speakers included forensics veterinarian Dr. Martha Smith-Blackmore of Forensics Veterinary Investigations.  And MSPCA Humane Law Enforcement Officer Christine Allenberg. HSVMA was also honored to once again work with forensics veterinarian Dr. Melinda Merck of Veterinary Forensics LLC. Dr. Merck is a pioneer in the field of veterinary forensics and has presented webinars as well as other in person programs for HSVMA.

The program highlighted three aspects of veterinary reporting of animal abuse: the connection between animal abuse and other forms of violence, specific forensics details, and what to do locally in MA if you suspect animal abuse.

Dr. Grande discussed the connection between animal abuse, neglect and how it is often an indicator of family dynamics. Domestic violence, child abuse and other crimes are often occurring at the same time as the animal abuse. Dr. Merck delved into specific forensics information and emphasized the need to develop hospital protocols. Dr. Smith Blackmore was the leading forensics veterinarian on the infamous “Puppy Doe” case in Massachusetts and she shared details about that case and reporting protocols in MA.

To view HSVMA’s special webinar series on Animal Abuse Reporting with Dr. Merck, visit the archived webinar page. These webinars are provided at no cost to HSVMA members and RACE CE is available for those who view the webinars and successfully complete a quiz.