Indoor postmortem mutilation by dogs: Confusion, contradictions, and needs from the perspective of the forensic veterinarian medicine
Pisani, Julian M. A [Argentina.Presidency Argentine Nation, Minist Justice & Human Rights, Natl Forens Sci Programme, Cordoba]
Scarso-Giaconi, Fabiana [Chile. Universidad Mayor]
Fonseca, Gabriel M. [Chile. Universidad de La Frontera, Temuco]
Canine scavenging in indoor settings is rarely reported but is regularly observed in forensic practice. Such scavenging can cause misinterpretation when specific expert witnesses are not called. Forensic investigators must be aware of current protocols and all pertinent legal terms regarding the examination of the scene, the victim, and the dog. A case of an elderly person with a mutilation of the exposed face and neck is presented. Although the pattern of postmortem wounds, the configuration of the scene, and the presence of 2 pet dogs showed a typical configuration of a scavenging behavior, the poorly processed scene, the lack of complete autopsy information, and especially the lack of forensic veterinarians led to confusing perceptions and decisions contradicting the scientific international standards and the current Argentinean legislation on animal cruelty, abuse, and neglect. There are contradictions between what the law says and what applies in such cases when the essential scientific basis to perform forensic procedures or substantiate court decisions is unknown. It is important to have trained veterinarians with the capabilities and the skills needed to recognize and analyze not only the injuries but also for handling the animal on the best scientific conditions.
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