Society

New York Using DNA And Other "CSI" Forensic Methods To Solve Animal Abuse Cases

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On TV, the investigators of CSI and similar shows solve heinous crimes with the latest, futuristic forensic technology. In real life, sophisticated CSI-like forensic techniques are now being used to track down peole who commit crimes against animals, New York’s CBS 2 News reports.

“We work really hard to really make the case airtight and collect all the evidence we need to,” forensic veterinarian Robert Reisman told the TV station. “We just process a crime scene like anybody else.”

Pet owners are getting their cats and dogs swabbed for DNA samples. If anything criminal befalls the animal, the DNA matches can help convict the human killer.

In one case, Brooklyn resident Dorothy Bender in December of 2009 found her beloved nine-pound cat Madea, suffering from injuries that appeared to come from some sort of brutal attack. The then-49-year-old was heartbroken when the cat had to be euthanized the next day.

"She was more than just a cat," Bender said. "I'm not having any more kids, some grandkids maybe, but that was my baby right there.”

But who or what killed the lovable kitty? When Madea’s DNA matched traces found on an umbrella used by Bender’s son-in-law, Lordtyshon Garrett, investigators had their man. The 31-year-old had abused the cat, beating and stabbing Madea as the cat tried to fight back by clawing at the umbrella-turned-weapon. The crime was apparently in retaliation for his mother-in-law's order that he leave her house.

With testimony from Reisman and DNA evidence collected by the American Society For the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which operates its own CSI forensic van, Garrett was convicted of the crime.

“That forensic recovery of evidence really helps to flesh out the case for us,” said Brooklyn Assistant District Attorney Diane Malone, of the animal abuse cases. “Sooner or later, we’ll find you, and we’ll prosecute you, because we take these cases very, very seriously.”

SOURCES: CBS 2 News, New York Daily News