Forensic evaluation of a dog with an embedded chain collar and corresponding wound age estimation
Keywords:veterinary forensic sciences, animal cruelty, animal neglect, animal abuse investigation, canine, embedded collar, wound dating
The body of a young intact male dog was presented with an embedded chain collar around his neck as possible evidence in proceedings under the Criminal Code of Canada. A photographic record was made for court purposes. The circumference of the collar versus the adjacent unaffected neck was measured, showing the collar to be 15% shorter than was necessary to be compatible with non-injury to the dog while alive. Granulation tissue and fibrosis were grossly and histologically evaluated to help estimate the age of the wound. The granulation tissue at its deepest point was 2.0 cm. Considering granulation tissue begins formation 3–5 days post-injury and forms at a rate of 0.4–1.0 mm per day, the initial age of the wound was estimated at 23–55 days; however, given the re-epithelialization and fibrous strength of the affected tissue as well as the presence of haired skin around the links, the time estimate was determined to be more likely in the order of 4–6 months. Findings were later used in court as evidence in the charge of unnecessary pain, suffering and injury to an animal under Section 445.1(1)(a) of the Criminal Code. Testimony at the trial supported the estimated age of the wound. The owner was found guilty, fined Can$1000, placed on probation for two years, and prohibited for life from owning animals.
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