Animal Services recognized for its partnership with UF


PHOTO COURTESY VOLUSIA COUNTY PROUD WINNER TEAM – Staff at Volusia County Animal Services pose with an award plaque presented earlier this year by the Florida Animal Control Association.

The expertise and competence of local animal cruelty investigations has been significantly enhanced through an innovative partnership between Volusia County Animal Services and the University of Florida Veterinary Forensic Science Laboratory.

And now, this county-UF partnership has been recognized statewide as a recipient of the 2021 Florida Animal Control Association (FACA) Award for Achieving Outstanding Co-op Team.

While extremely proud of the award, Director of Animal Services Adam Leath said the partnership helps ensure cases in Volusia County involving animal cruelty, welfare or suspected abuse are treated with the highest level of care and professionalism.

In addition to serving on the Board of Directors of the National Animal Care & Control Association, Leath is also an Assistant Professor of Courtesy at UF’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

“The working relationship we have been able to develop with the Laboratory of Veterinary Forensic Sciences has really improved animal services in Volusia County,” said Leath. “We improve the lives of animals and people by combining the strengths and resources of both organizations. It’s a true partnership in every sense of the word, and we’re very proud that the Florida Animal Control Association has recognized the shared efforts and impacts of our teamwork.

An international leader in veterinary science, UF and its veterinary forensic medicine laboratory are committed to helping and supporting animal cruelty investigations. And he’s putting his expertise to good use by helping train Volusia County Animal Control Officers in specialist skills, such as investigating crime scenes, excavating underground graves, and how to identify, to document and perform a forensic examination of victims of animal abuse.

At the request of Volusia’s Animal Services, the lab also provided veterinary autopsy services in several cases, providing the forensic evidence that facilitated the filing of criminal charges, successful prosecutions and, most importantly, the rescue of animals in deplorable living conditions.

It is this high level of excellence in animal welfare, care and control that has earned statewide recognition for the co-op program, according to an award letter earlier this year. from FACA President Darcy Andrade to Volusia County Animal Services and UF.

“On behalf of the FACA Board of Directors and FACA member agencies, thank you for your dedication and outstanding service in promoting animal welfare,” Andrade said in the letter.

A UF veterinary professor said the county’s successful partnership could lead to more in the state.

“The 2020 partnership between the University of Florida Forensic Science Laboratory and Volusia County Animal Services has been extremely successful and may serve as a framework for additional partnerships for other agencies,” said Dr. Adam Stern, associate professor of forensic medicine at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine.

About Hector Hedgepeth

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