Defending Crimes of Animal Abuse and Neglect: Everything You Wanted to Know, but Were Afraid to Ask (On-Demand)

General Credits:
Original Date Of Course:



Course Description

This is a straightforward and comprehensive examination of the generalities and specifics involved in defending criminal charges brought against accused persons in animal cruelty prosecutions, including charges of animal neglect, abuse, abandonment, and fighting. The course will take a scientist’s and litigator’s framework to explore issues that arise at indictment, during forfeiture proceedings, in discovery, at trial, and in sentencing with a focus on identifying concerns of parties, witnesses, jurors, and victims, and will be presented within a framework of identifying and accounting for overarching philosophical principles, highlighting important strategic concerns, and utilizing some real-world applications from a scientific perspective. The details and practicalities of this important specialty area of defense practice are presented in an entertaining and educational fashion.


  1. Introduction and a Philosophical Overview
    • Themes of science and policy, and “terms of art” at work in animal cruelty prosecutions
    • Acknowledging social and political constraints and realities
  2. Steps in the litigation
    • Charging instruments; statutes; issues with Das; plea bargaining
    • Forfeiture proceedings
    • Discovery specific to animals as “victims”; inspections and evaluations
    • Motion practice and evidentiary issues involving scientific principles
    • Trial issues
    • Sentencing concerns and dealing with both creative and rigid statutory penalties
  3. Translation into real world practice
    • Examples from cases
    • Examples from daily practices
  4. Future Legislative trends and traps for the unwary


Dr. Geordie Duckler

Credit Details

Course Type

Course Instructor

Dr. Geordie Duckler

Original Date Of Course

General Credits