The Veterinarian’s Role in Equine Cruelty Prosecutions

The equine veterinarian is the prosecutor’s most important resource and witness in these cases, one attorney said.

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Hark back to your favorite episode of Law & Order. Jack McCoy is in court, grilling an expert witness whose testimony is critical to the outcome of a big case. In real-life animal cruelty cases, the veterinarian is that expert on the stand, and his or her report can make the difference between a guilty or innocent equine abuse verdict.

Because of the significance of the veterinarian’s role in these cases, Reese Frederickson, MBA, JD, Pine County attorney in Pine City, Minnesota, described how vets can help prosecutors do their jobs while at the 2016 American Association of Equine Practitioners’ Convention, held Dec. 3-7 in Orlando, Florida.

The prosecution’s role in an animal abuse case is to decide whether criminal charges are warranted based on the materials at hand—law enforcement reports, veterinary reports, humane agent reports, photos, video, and witness statements.

“The equine veterinarian is the prosecutor’s most important resource and witness” in these cases, said Frederickson

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Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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