Melinda Merck, DVM, Perjurer?

In the emerging field of veterinary forensic science, Merck, 45, is a star—profiled by National Public Radio and People magazine, sought after as a speaker and consultant. She helped found the International Veterinary Forensic Sciences Assn. last year and is assisting with the launch next year at the University of Florida of the nation’s first formal veterinary forensic sciences program.

And she has been a very busy little bee. "By 2007, she had given up her private practice to work full time for the ASPCA. Now, her time is divided among consulting, investigating crime scenes and creating and delivering education, both for veterinary professionals and law enforcement officials."

Merck's name surfaced in the news last week after the highly publicized Weinman case fell apart. He was accused of mutilating and slaying 19 cats in Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay last year.  Merck, along with Miami-Dade Animal Services Director Sara Pizano, initially concluded that the cats must have been killed by a human. Merck relied on information provided by Pizano, according to prosecutors.  But a defense expert, peeling back the fur on eight preserved cat corpses, discovered bite marks that showed an animal predator -- likely a wild dog -- was to blame for the killings.  After Merck and Pizano agreed with the new findings, prosecutors dropped all charges against Weinman.

Dr. Melinda Merck is director of veterinary forensic sciences for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She also co-founded a veterinary forensic science training program -- dubbed "Animal CSI'' -- at UF... Merck did not respond to repeated phone messages or e-mails. An ASPCA spokeswoman said: ''Dr. Merck is unable to comment on the Armand Pacher case at this time as it is currently an open investigation." As one of the country's most prominent forensic veterinarians, Merck helped federal prosecutors build the dog fighting case against NFL star Michael Vick, who served 18 months in prison... Judge Trawick... "I've never seen an expert opine that another expert was providing false information," he told lawyers in court.

Perjury, also known as forswearing, is the willful act of swearing a false oath or affirmation to tell the truth, whether spoken or in writing, concerning matters material to a judicial proceedingThat is, the witness falsely promises to tell the truth about matters which affect the outcome of the case.

Melinda Merck, DVM: "Voice for Justice" or Perjurer? You decide!

"Next spring, the University of Florida will begin a certificate program as part of its online master’s degree in forensic science. Merck is helping develop the program, which will teach veterinarians to recognize crime against animals and give vets the tools to do something about it."  I wonder if they have considered adding some ethics and logic courses!

For sure, we need some better tools to beat back those who wantonly destroy the lives of animal owners with accusations of atrocities.

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