Conference Recap: Recognizing & Responding to Animal Hoarding

A simulated hoarding scene was created to provide hands-on experience in crime scene processing.

Whether they waded through piles of newspaper or examined volunteer canines, attendees at our recent conference on Recognizing & Responding to Animal Hoarding got a priceless experience.

More than 150 veterinarians, veterinary students, technicians, and humane investigators descended on the UF CVM on March 24 and 25 for Maddie’s® Veterinary Forensics Conference. Experts from the ASPCA joined Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program to bring two days of content to Gainesville.

On the first day, presenters lectured on the many facets of animal hoarding for welfare organizations: common medical problems in victims, media relations, planning a response, and even community-based approaches to hoarding problems.

This has been a wonderful conference! The speakers have been dynamic, well-spoken, and have demonstrated expertise while keeping their presentations focused on practical information.

Attendee feedback was extremely positive: “Very interesting. Loved it!” “Great job on all the wet labs.” “Amazing amount of work by the organizers – thank you!”

On the second day, attendees got their hands dirty with a series of hands-on workshops including crime scene processing, examining a live victim, and examining a deceased victim for forensic evidence.  With ever-increasing exposure for this phenomenon and public interest in the topic, the Gainesville Sun even stopped by to see the attendees in action.

Maddie’s® Shelter Medicine Program and the ASPCA planned the conference for months, and the response from attendees has been glowing.

And when asked what key things they learned, one attendee hit the nail on the head:

To look at the big picture, to understand the many levels of the problem and multi-modal approach to therapy, and to document, document, document!!

This conference would not have been possible without the hard work of our speakers, faculty, staff, and trainees.  Special thanks to the ASPCA and Maddie’s Fund® for supporting this event.


Photo Gallery

A simulated hoarding scene was created to provide hands-on experience.
A simulated hoarding scene was created to provide hands-on experience in crime scene processing at the 2012 Maddie’s® Veterinary Forensics Conference.
Participants get their bearings on the scene.
Adam Leath, Southeast Regional Director of the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team, instructs participants in crime scene documentation.
Markers indicate which pieces of evidence should be collected for further examination or testing.
The mock crime scenes included piles of trash, litterboxes, animal carriers, medical records, stuffed animals to represent victims, and a wide variety of debris commonly found at animal hoarding scenes.