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Friday, June 27, 2008

A chance to combat animal fighting

If you are a prosecutor, judge or law student -- and you care about animals -- you have a chance to do something about the sad and serious problem of illegal animal fighting. (The problem gained national attention with the Michael Vick dog-fighting case, but organized animal fighting also includes cockfighting and hog-dog fighting.)

I recently received an e-mail requesting my help in spreading the word about a unique training program being held by the Humane Society University in six cities across the country, including Minneapolis. Being a reporter and an animal lover, I can’t turn them down.

It seems that the university, the training arm of the Humane Society of the United States, is looking for people -- particularly those in the legal and law enforcement communities -- to participate in its Illegal Animal Fighting Investigations workshop. Participants will learn history, motivations and paraphernalia involved in illegal animal fighting, as well as how to conduct interrogations when illegal animal fighting is suspected. Among the course topics are:
  • Matters concerning search warrants, performing investigations, and recognizing and logging evidence at an arrest or raid;
  • Disposition of confiscated animals;
  • Preparing a case for court;
  • Recognizing street fighting and the best means for making an arrest;
  • Animal fighting connection to other felony crimes;
  • Knowing, interpreting and applying the law; and
  • Internet investigation of animal fighting.

Because of the confidential nature of the material presented, enrollment is restricted to prosecutors, judges, law students, law enforcement officers, animal control officers, humane investigators and veterinarians employed by a sheriff's, police or health department.

The Minneapolis workshop will take place from 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m. on August 12, 2008, at the Animal Humane Society. Tuition is $60. Register online by July 29, 2008.

For those of you who attend, I thank you -- and I’d love to hear about the experience.

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