Yesterday at the Animal Rescue League of Iowa in Des Moines, The HSUS unveiled a powerful new tool to crack down on animal fighting criminals and other abusers—a fully outfitted Mobile Animal Crimes Lab equipped with the latest forensic gear to help law enforcement process crime scenes involving animal cruelty or fighting.
Chris Schindler, left, and Tom Colvin, Animal Rescue League
of Iowa executive director, with the Mobile Animal Crimes Lab.
We already have some of the nation’s leading experts on animal cruelty and fighting, a remarkable undercover investigations department that gathers intelligence and sniffs out these crimes, an emergency services capability to deploy at a moment’s notice to rescue animals in need, a national animal fighting tip line (877-TIP-HSUS), and a national rewards program. This mobile CSI unit adds to these already formidable capabilities.
The crime response vehicle (made possible with a generous grant from the Folke H. Peterson Foundation) features two rooms for examining dogs and documenting their injuries, evidence packaging equipment, ultraviolet lights for spotting body fluids, entomology kits, a print lift kit and devices for identifying suspected blood. It’s especially suited for dogfighting cases—two dogs can be examined at a time in a secure environment—but it will also be valuable in cruelty and puppy mill cases to examine the animals, document their conditions, and process other evidence on the scene. Chris Schindler, a certified crime scene investigator for The HSUS, will deploy with the vehicle.
Some of the forensic equipment inside the vehicle.
Des Moines was our first stop on a ten-city tour to demonstrate this new capability with local law enforcement. Today we’re at the Chicago Police Department and tomorrow we head to Indianapolis Animal Care & Control where we’ll be joined by local law enforcement, a pit bull advocacy group, and two dogs rescued from a fighting raid we assisted with last August in Indiana. Then we’ll make our way to Nashville, Montgomery, Ala., Tampa, Orlando, Atlanta, Charlotte and Richmond.
More than anything, this vehicle is yet another signal to the most malicious of animal abusers that the odds are increasingly stacked against them, and that they cannot expect to conduct these barbaric and criminal activities without serious consequences.