Alexander Luzula | Staff Writer
FIU’s Global Forensic and Justice Center announced it will begin offering the Veterinary Forensic Science Master’s Program next fall semester.
A 16-month online program taught by experts in the field, it will partner with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and focus on veterinary forensic sciences investigating animal abuse and cruelty. The university has partnered with ASPCA on previous occasions, including classes and training seminars led by ASPCA for students as well as local law enforcement.
“We have a relationship with ASPCA and we work with them on a variety of programs including detector dogs and aiding them in research for animal cruelty cases,” said program director Max Houck.
“We collaborated on designing this program specifically for the needs they recognized in the community, so it’s a combination of their veterinary experience and skills and our forensic capabilities that brought this about.”
The degree is accredited as a Professional Science Master’s (PSM) and will offer two new tracks of specialization in the current forensics program: forensic management, which focuses on leadership and decision-making while conducting cases. The forensic investigative work program teaches crime scene inspection necessary for investigating animal cruelty cases.
Houck is optimistic about the turnout for the inaugural year, as well as the impact the program will have on South Florida and beyond.The program will be the first of its kind in the region.
Previous collaborations with the ASPCA have turned out to be successful, according to Houck.
“Unlike humans, animals can’t tell you what happened to them if they’re victims of a crime,” said Houck. “It’s vitally important that we make sure that these kinds of crimes are investigated properly but also to bring the veterinary information in as well. That’s what the ASPCA folks bring, that knowledge and experience to the classes that they’re teaching.”