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Animal serial killing: The first criminal conviction for animal cruelty in Brazil

Salvagni, Fernanda Auciello, de Siqueira, Adriana, Fukushima, Andre Rinaldi, Landi, Marina Frota de Albuquerque, Ponge-Ferreira, Heidi, Maiorka, Paulo Cesar
Forensic science international 2016 v.267 pp. e1
animal welfare, blood, cats, correctional institutions, crime, death, dogs, forensic sciences, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, heart, humans, ketamine, lungs, necropsy, plastic bags, police, thoracic cavity, thorax, Brazil
Animal cruelty is a known behavior of psychopaths, and although the serial killing of humans is widely acknowledged worldwide, this type of crime against animals is seldom discussed. This report describes the necropsy and toxicological findings of 37 dogs and cats, which were found dead in plastic bags in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The animals had all been in the care of an alleged animal rescuer and were to be referred for adoption before being found dead. In the necropsy, the animals showed varying degrees of putrefaction, indicating different periods of death, as well as single or multiple perforations on the thorax. The perforations reached the heart, lungs or large thoracic vessels, culminating in hemopericardium and hemothorax that led to death by circulatory failure and cardiac tamponade. Blood from the heart and thoracic cavity was analyzed by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC–MS) and tested positive for ketamine, a dissociative anesthetic. The suspect declared that she had killed only five of the animals and that they had all been fatally sick. The necropsy proved that all 37 animals were killed in the same way, that none of the animals had any terminal diseases and that a restricted drug was used. The suspect was sentenced to 12 years, 6 months and 14days of prison for the killing of the 37 animals. This was the first conviction for the crime of animal cruelty in Brazil. The combined role of police, forensic veterinary pathologists and prosecutors were essential to the conviction, which was a great historical occasion in the fight against animal cruelty.