What to do

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - INSIGHT -

HERE are some point­ers gleaned from the An­i­mal Wel­fare Leg­is­la­tion and Crime Scene In­ves­ti­ga­tion work­shop con­ducted by Glyn Roberts, founder of Global An­i­mal Wel­fare So­lu­tions, a Bri­tish-based or­gan­i­sa­tion which con­ducts train­ing in an­i­mal wel­fare and law en­force­ment for NGOs, an­i­mal shel­ters and or­gan­i­sa­tions around the world. In­ves­ti­ga­tion plan­ning and con­trol.

What do you hope to achieve? What are the pos­si­ble of­fences? Get the ex­act le­gal terms. Be mind­ful of the “who, when, where, how, why”. What about pos­si­ble de­fences? Are the ex­cuses rea­son­able or valid? Look into ini­tial ev­i­dence or in­for­ma­tion, and the ac­tual ev­i­dence. Take pho­tographs and not just of the abused an­i­mal. Make notes that are clear, log­i­cal and leg­i­ble. Draw a plan – it helps in com­plex in­ves­ti­ga­tions. What to look out for in a crime scene when an an­i­mal is sus­pected to have been abused.

Ev­i­dence on the site that needs to be pho­tographed and recorded in­cludes chains, knives, cages, traps, pre­served tis­sues such as blood sam­ples, doc­u­men­tary ev­i­dence like let­ters, pho­tos, cer­tifi­cates, writ­ten notes, videos or even X-rays of an in­jured an­i­mal. Just like real CSI cases in­volv­ing hu­man vic­tims, the ev­i­dence is col­lected, bagged and tagged in­side plas­tic bags that are la­belled. How do you prove that an an­i­mal is suf­fer­ing or in pain?

Here’s where state­ments from ex­perts add cred­i­bil­ity and strength. Roberts re­calls a case in Bri­tain where a dog was left in­side a car while his owner went shop­ping. As the tem­per­a­ture rose, the dog al­most got cooked in­side the car.

“In­ves­ti­ga­tors took the tem­per­a­ture in­side the car, and con­sulted a me­te­o­rol­o­gist,” says Roberts. “The owner ar­gued in his de­fence that it was an iso­lated in­ci­dent and a case of ‘freak weather’. But ev­i­dence show­ing it had been near 40°C all week long threw his de­fence out of the win­dow.”

Some of the ex­perts you may need to sup­port a case in­clude the vet, dog trainer, groomer, lawyer, me­te­o­rol­o­gist, an­i­mal nutri­tion­ist, SPCA in­spec­tor and a rep­utable breeder. Pho­tograph­ing cru­elty cases

Good qual­ity im­ages are es­sen­tial in cap­tur­ing the crime scene. They are also use­ful in re­fresh­ing your mem­ory when writ­ing a re­port or tes­ti­fy­ing in court. The press will need good qual­ity pho­tographs, too. Here are some tips:

> Prac­tise with your equip­ment and en­sure bat­tery and mem­ory card are in or­der, and kept with equip­ment needed such as ex­hibit numbers, mea­sur­ing tape and notebook.

> Pho­to­graph the an­i­mal against a plain, un­clut­tered back­ground so that its abuse or skele­tal frame is vis­i­ble. If the an­i­mal is res­cued and its wounds have healed, take a “be­fore” and “af­ter” pho­to­graph.

> En­sure the flash does not bounce back when pho­tograph­ing through a glass win­dow.

> At a scene where there is more than one an­i­mal, carry out a brief in­spec­tion first. Start with the worst con­di­tions or the an­i­mal that is in the most sorry state. Num­ber the cages and/or an­i­mals to show con­ti­nu­ity. Try to draw a plan of the site as you go along. Re­mem­ber, peo­ple in court have not been to the crime scene, so you need to recre­ate the scene and present it to them.

Start with a pic­ture of the lo­ca­tion. Con­cen­trate on in­di­vid­ual cages and an­i­mals. Zoom in on in­juries or mark­ings – such as in­fected wounds – on the an­i­mals.

Look around the scene to see what else sup­ports your ev­i­dence of abuse or ne­glect. Un­col­lected news­pa­pers in­di­cate the own­ers have been away for a while. n Mem­bers of the pub­lic are ad­vised to lodge a po­lice re­port be­fore sub­mit­ting any an­i­mal abuse case to the SPCA in their state or the Depart­ment of Vet­eri­nary Ser­vices (03-8870 2000 / pro@dvs.gov.my / www.dvs.gov.my). Check out SPCA Se­lan­gor at www.spca.org.my or call its pub­lic re­la­tions depart­ment and in­spec­torate (03-4253 5312 10am-6pm daily). More de­tails at the Global An­i­mal Wel­fare So­lu­tions web­site (www.gaws.co.uk).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.