The Connection Between Animal Cruelty & Societal Violence and Vulnerability: The Link

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Dr. Melinda Merck, DVM, Veterinary Forensic Consulting, LLC


The recognition of the Link is critical for investigators, social services, prosecutors and the veterinary community. The field of veterinary forensic medicine has grown over the past decade. The application of veterinary forensics can play an important role in both animal and human related crimes. Animal evidence can be key to the investigation and prosecution of other types of crimes. This presentation will discuss how animal cruelty investigations can support human victim criminal cases and explore the variety of intersections for all stakeholders.


  1. Recognize the link between animal cruelty and human crimes
  2. Apply veterinary forensics in animal cruelty cases
  3. Recognize the importance of working with the veterinary community


Dr. Melinda Merck is the owner of Veterinary Forensics Consulting in Austin, Texas. She provides expert case consultations and testimony. Dr. Merck provides training for veterinary, attorney and law enforcement professionals internationally on the use of veterinary forensics in the investigation and prosecution of animal cruelty cases and the link to crime against humans.

Dr. Merck serves on the Association of Prosecuting Attorney’s Animal Cruelty Advisory Council. Locally she serves on the Austin-Travis County Family Violence Task Force and volunteers with SAFE, the Austin shelter for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors.

Dr. Merck is the editor and contributing author of the textbook, “Veterinary Forensics: Animal Cruelty Investigation, 2nd edition” by Wiley publishing. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Science and member of the International Association of Blood Stain Analysts.