Animal Abuse and Unlawful Killing
Animal Abuse and Unlawful Killing,
Edition 1 Forensic veterinary pathology
By Ranald Munro, BVMS, MSc, DVM, Dip Forensic Medicine, DipECVP, MRCVS and Helen M. C. Munro, BVMS, MRCVS

Publication Date: 04 July 2008

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This book guides veterinarians and lawyers through the diverse and complex fields of alleged cruelty to, and unlawful killing of, companion animals, farm livestock and wildlife. It draws together current knowledge on how to approach, investigate and report forensic cases.

Animal Abuse and Unlawful Killing is the essential definitive reference text for veterinary and legal professionals engaged in forensic cases involving animals and the source of reference for others who wish to understand the issues surrounding animal abuse cases.

Key Features

  • Covers all aspects of the forensic post-mortem including cause and time of death

  • Features the fundamentals of abuse and neglect
  • Allows rapid access to descriptions of different types of injuries and gives essential guidance on their interpretation
  • Backed by practical standard operative procedures from world experts to ensure proper and professional case management
  • High quality, specially selected photographs, a clear writing style and concise presentation informs and encourages the reader towards soundly-based conclusions
About the author
By Ranald Munro, BVMS, MSc, DVM, Dip Forensic Medicine, DipECVP, MRCVS, Professor of Forensic Veterinary Pathology, Royal Veterinary College, London, UK; and Helen M. C. Munro, BVMS, MRCVS, Honorary Fellow, The University of Edinburgh Veterinary School, UK
Table of Contents

Definition of forensic veterinary pathology – a developing specialty.

The relationship between the forensic veterinary pathologist and the courts.
Why do it?

The forensic examination and report

The locus: types of loci, value of attending at the locus, notes and photographs * The forensic necropsy procedure: standard procedures, avoidance of pitfalls, natural disease
Interpretation of findings *Report writing: plain English, formatting and numbering

Estimation of the post mortem interval * Rigor mortis, post mortem changes including adipocere and mummification, immunohistochemistry, entomology and environmental clues

Wounds and other injuries

Superficial injuries: skin wounds including abrasions, incisions, lacerations and stab wounds * Bruising and haemorrhage * Internal injuries: blunt trauma; penetrating wounds; head; thoracic; abdominal; pelvic and limb injuries

Non- accidental injury

Terminology and definitions * Features that raise suspicion * Links to violence in the home * Limitations on application of current knowledge to non-companion animals
Asphyxia and Drowning

Definition of asphyxia * General features * Strangulation, Choking & Smothering, Suffocation & Crush Asphyxia, Poisonous gases, Smoke inhalation, Drowning


Types of weapons and ammunition: air rifles, shotguns, rifles and crossbows * Firearm injuries: air rifle pellets wounds, shotgun pellet wounds, high and low velocity rifle bullet wounds

Traps and snares

Illegal use of traps and snares * Injuries caused by spring traps * Injuries caused by snares * Deaths in cage traps

Dog bite injuries

Injuries to hares killed during hare coursing * Injuries to roe deer seized by dogs * Injuries to domestic livestock following stock worrying


Necropsy features raising suspicion of chemical poisoning

Thermal injuries

Burns and scalds * Pathologic features in cats fatally injured in microwave ovens and tumble dryers * Electrocution * Heatstroke *Frostbite


Dogs, cats, other domestic pets and livestock: deprivation of the normal necessities of life * Lack of veterinary treatment: chronic lameness in livestock; neglected injuries; neoplasia; diarrhoea; loss of weight * Sexual abuse * Terminology * Types of injuries in companion animals * Objects used * Estimation of the age of lesions * Bruises, healing wounds, fractures, peri-osteal responses * Use of histopathology in forensic cases * Confirmation or exclusion of specific changes or lesions.
Smoke inhalation
Book Reviews

This may not be a comfortable book to read, but every veterinary surgeon in practice should have a copy on their shelves, and it ought to be essential reading for new graduates. It deals specifically with non-accidental injury to animals. The text is attractively laid out and well illustrated with full colour pictures and line diagrams. The first pathology textbook dedicated to non-accidental injury in animals in the UK.

Veterinary Record, February 2009

"The senior author's experience in this field is very apparent from both the text and the images...This is a useful addition to forensic literature. It should be available to any veterinary surgeon who is involved in legal cases where cruelty or unlawful killing is alleged."

Veterinary Practice, June 2010


"The book, written by a husband-and-wife team of veterinary pathologists with many years' experience of assessing accidental animal injury, is indeed a gourmet sandwich. It is the text that many established veterinary pathologists have been waiting for, particularly those who may be engaged in or likely to encounter forensci and legal veterinary pathology." The Bulletin, July 2009


Book details
ISBN: 9780702028786
Page Count: 124
Illustrations: Approx. 150 illustrations (100 in full color)
Retail Price: £57.99