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Dog-Fighting DNA Database Breaks New Ground In Crackdown On Animal Cruelty

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NEW YORK, June 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The nation’s first criminal dog-fighting DNA database has been established by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), The Humane Society of Missouri (HSMO) and the Louisiana SPCA (LA/SPCA), and will be maintained at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) Veterinary Genetics Laboratory. Known as the Canine CODIS (Combined DNA Index System), the database is designed to help the criminal justice system investigate and prosecute dog fighting cases and address the growing problem of dog fighting using 21st century technology.

“Dog fighting is a multi-million dollar criminal enterprise that leads to the cruel treatment and deaths of thousands of dogs nationwide every year,” said Tim Rickey, the ASPCA’s Senior Director of Field Investigation and Response. “This database is an unprecedented and vital component in the fight against animal cruelty and will allow us to strengthen cases against animal abusers and seek justice for their victims.”

Rickey, the former Animal Cruelty Task Force Director at HSMO, Kathryn Destreza, the ASPCA’s Southeast Regional Director, Field Investigation and Response and formerly Director of Humane Law Enforcement for the Louisiana SPCA, and Dr. Melinda Merck, the ASPCA’s Senior Director of Veterinary Forensic Sciences and the nation’s premier forensic veterinarian, collaborated to create the database, working with Dr. Randall Lockwood, the ASPCA’s Senior Vice President of Anti-Cruelty Initiatives and Training.

“This database will connect investigations across the country and internationally, creating multi-jurisdictional collaboration,” said Ms. Destreza, who presented on the Canine CODIS at the recent Veterinary Forensics Conference in Orlando, Fla. “It’s another tool we can use toward the elimination of dog fighting.”

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