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Veterinary Forensics

Boob l Brooks l Shelly l Spada

Nathan Boob, Esq.
Clinical Assistant Professor, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

Mr. Nathan Boob earned his BS degree in Administration of Justice in 1998, then went on to The Dickinson School of Law of the Pennsylvania State University and graduated in 2001 with a JD degree. He worked at the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Office as Deputy District Attorney from 2000 to 2002, then took a position at the Centre County District Attorney’s Office in 2002. After 13 years in Centre County, he became Senior Assistant District Attorney at the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where he currently serves.

Jason Brooks, VMD, PhD, DACVP
Clinical Assistant Professor, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania

Dr. Brooks is a Veterinary Pathologist and a diplomate of the ACVP from the Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences at Penn State University. Dr. Brooks received his Bachelor of Science from Juniata College and his VMD from the University of Pennsylvania. He practiced clinical veterinary medicine in a mixed animal practice before beginning his academic career at an agricultural laboratory in Sicily, Italy. Dr. Brooks entered a combined residency/PhD training program in veterinary pathology at The Pennsylvania State University where he later joined the faculty. He has received advanced training in forensic pathology, crime scene analysis, and clandestine gravesite identification and excavation. As a veterinary pathologist, he routinely assists law enforcement with animal cruelty investigations and provides instruction to state and local police officers on how to conduct animal crimes investigations. He conducts research on the estimation of the postmortem interval and the pathology of gunshot wounds and teaches in undergraduate courses in pathology and forensic sciences. Dr. Brooks serves on the board of directors of the International Veterinary Forensic Sciences Association, is a member of the AAFS Standards Board - Wildlife Forensics Consensus Body, is a consulting committee member of the American Investigative Society of Cold Cases, and is an associate member of American Academy of Forensic Sciences. He is currently writing and editing the first textbook in the field of veterinary forensic pathology and has assembled a team of 20 other contributing authors.

Colleen Shelly
Owner, The Animal Crime Institute, New Tripoli, Pennsylvania

Colleen is a graduate of West Chester University with a B.S. in Criminal Justice and a minor in Political Science. She retired honorably from the Pennsylvania State Police in 2013. During her years as PA State Trooper, she dedicated much of her career to animal crimes and animal law issues. Colleen’s post law enforcement career involves owning and operating several animal based businesses, including the Animal Crime Institute, a training and professional development company for agencies and entities involved in the response to animal incidents. She is also the owner of Nexus Natural Dressage, an equine boarding and training business, and most recently, Paws to Ponies, a professional pet-sitting and equine care business. As a PSP Trooper, she served in the Patrol and Criminal Investigation Units in Troop K, Philadelphia, as a Criminal Law Instructor and member of the Tactical Mounted Unit in the Bureau of Training and Education, and as PSP’s first Animal Crimes Investigator, a position within the Bureau of Criminal Investigation/Special Investigations Division. During her tenure with the Pennsylvania State Police, she developed the Basic Animal Cruelty and Animal Law course offered to federal, state, and municipal police officers. Colleen is a member of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainer’s Association (ILEETA) and the Organization of Racing Investigators (ORI). She has a particularly strong background in equine issues as they pertain to law enforcement.

Corporal Michael Spada
Animal Cruelty Officer, Special Investigations Unit, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Pennsylvania State Police, Department Headquarters, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Cpl. Spada began his career in the Pennsylvania State Police after graduating from the State Police Academy in September of 1994. He has been stationed in Snyder, Lebanon and Lancaster Counties. Cpl. Spada spent most of his career in a Patrol capacity, gaining extra training in DUI enforcement and becoming certified as Drug Recognition Expert. He also trained in emergency response areas such as Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical investigations and Explosives in Transport incidents. Cpl. Spada has also worked in the State Police Bureau of Gaming Enforcement and is certified by the American Red Cross as a CPR/AED and First Aid instructor. In 2011, Cpl. Spada was a participant in the first Animal Cruelty class put together by the State Police Academy. He continued to stay up to date with changes in Animal Cruelty Laws and did not shy away from being involved in animal related investigations. In July of 2016, Cpl. Spada began his current assignment as the Animal Cruelty Officer in the Special Investigations Division of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. He serves as the coordinator for the Department’s Animal Cruelty Liaison Program, as well as in an investigative role out in the field. He has found himself looking into crimes from dog fighting to neglect to hoarding. He believes that with the right education, the right resources and the right attitude, animal cruelty can be investigated properly and successfully prosecuted.

Who Enforces What and Who to Call: Challenges of the Multiagency Response

Knowing who has the authority to enforce which laws and regulations is the starting point of any cruelty investigation to ensure prompt and appropriate response and investigation.

Working with Rescues, Animal Ownership, and Liability Considerations
As a veterinarian providing care to rescued animals, it’s important to understand custodial issues of animal evidence and the motivations behind the parties involved in handling the animals in cruelty investigations.

Drugs in the Equine Industry
Show horses, race horses, or sale horses…why it’s done, how it’s done, and some of the common drugs used in today’s equine industry.

Developing the Response to Animal Crimes by State and Municipal Police Departments
State and municipal police departments across the US continue to develop new strategies for effectively responding to animal-associated calls. The coordination of multiple agencies and resources is often required. The attendee will learn current trends among Pennsylvania law enforcement agencies and what that means to the clinical veterinarian who encounters a suspected animal crime.

Laboratory Support for Animal Crimes Investigations
In some animal crime investigations there is need for laboratory analysis. Required lab support may range from forensic necropsy to analysis of a wide variety of evidence types. The attendee will learn the framework in which these services are provided in Pennsylvania, and how to make the most effective use of the Pennsylvania Animal Diagnostic Laboratory System (PADLS).

Legal Consequences for Veterinarians Involved with Animal Crimes Cases and Expectations of the Court
Many veterinarians are reluctant to become involved with cases that have a high likelihood of ending in litigation. Some of the reasons behind this will be discussed and the attendee will learn what he/she can realistically expect after becoming involved with an animal crime case. This discussion will also cover the responsibilities and expectations of the court regarding a veterinarian involved with such a case.