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Protocol for expert report on animal welfare in case of companion animal cruelty suspicion

By J. Hammerschmidt, C. F. M. Molento

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Animal welfare expert reports may support court decisions when animal abuse or maltreatment is suspected. The objective of this work is to adapt animal welfare assessment protocols to identify companion animal abuse. The proposed protocol includes four indicator categories: nutritional, comfort, health and behavioral. To reach the overall conclusion regarding the situation evaluated, the final decisions for each group of indicators, classified as inadequate, regular and adequate, must be integrated into a single result, which will be the final welfare degree. This protocol employs a simple integration method, based on thresholds for inclusion in each of the five animal welfare degrees reported as overall conclusion for the assessment: very low, low, regular, high or very high welfare. Low and very low degrees are considered non-acceptable and are reported as abuse or maltreatment. Regular welfare is considered acceptable if corrective measures are assured. High and very high degrees are considered desirable for animal welfare. The protocol allows differentiation of animal welfare status to better decide whether an animal is under abuse, maltreatment or negligence. We hope that the refinement of the recognition of crimes against animals, especially considering cases where no physical lesion is present, coupled with a standardized protocol will improve perception of animal suffering, facilitate the field work of those involved in this type of investigation, and offer a contribution to the improvement of animal welfare in our society through proper action and crime reduction. 

Date 2015
Publication Title Brazilian Journal of Veterinary Research and Animal Science
Volume 51
Issue 4
Pages 282-296
ISBN/ISSN 1413-9596
DOI 10.11606/issn.1678-4456.v51i4p282-296
Author Address Universidade Federal do Parana, Departamento de Zootecnia, Laboratorio de Bem-Estar Animal - LABEA, Rua dos Funcionarios, 1540, CEP 83324-180, Curitiba, PR, Brazil.carlamolento@ufpr.br
Additional Language English
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Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Abuse
  2. Animal behavior
  3. Animal health and hygiene
  4. Animals
  5. Animal welfare
  6. Arthropods
  7. Body condition
  8. Brazil
  9. Canidae
  10. Canine
  11. Carnivores
  12. Countries
  13. Crime
  14. Developing countries
  15. Dogs
  16. Drinking
  17. Feed rations
  18. Hygiene
  19. Invertebrates
  20. Latin America
  21. Law and legal issues
  22. Mammals
  23. Mites
  24. nutritional status
  25. open access
  26. Parasites
  27. peer-reviewed
  28. Pets and companion animals
  29. prevention
  30. regulations
  31. shelters
  32. South America
  33. space
  34. spiders
  35. Threshold
  36. trauma
  37. troughs
  38. United States of America
  39. vertebrates
  40. water
  1. open access
  2. peer-reviewed