UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine Veterinary Genetics Laboratory
FORENSICS
Animal DNA Evidence
It is important to identify, collect and preserve as much biological evidence as possible. DNA from all animals related to an investigation should be collected for potential comparison. We will prioritize testing at the laboratory to minimize costs.

test tubes Animal Abuse
Submit items containing possible blood or tissue from the victim. If the entire item cannot be submitted, swab the area with a cotton swab moistened with sterile water. If the victim’s body is available, submit a small piece of frozen muscle tissue as a reference.

Animal Attacks
If the victim is a human, collect clothing and store in a paper bag. If the clothing is very wet, it can be frozen in a sealed plastic container or allowed to dry at room temperature before placing in a paper bag. If the victim was an animal, clip hair from sites that are likely to contain saliva from the attacker. Also look for foreign hairs in the victim’s mouth or claws. If both the victim and the attacker are dogs, avoid collecting saliva-on-fur samples that have been contaminated with the victim’s blood. Do submit a sample from the victim dog as a reference. Contact the laboratory for DNA collection kits to sample suspect dogs. This should be done by a veterinarian, animal control, or law enforcement officer.

Missing Pets
If there is only one cat or dog in the home, collect items that would have your pet’s DNA such as brushes, bedding, toys, and food bowls. Submit the entire item. Alternatively, if one or both parents are available, contact the laboratory for DNA collection kits. These can be compared to a sample from the animal in question. We do not perform sibling analyses.

Human Crimes Involving Animal Evidence
Shed pet hair is frequently collected at crime scenes but is not an opitmal source of nuclear DNA. However, because animals groom themselves, we sometimes obtain nuclear DNA profiles from shed hairs. Mitochondrial DNA analysis can provide useful information if there is insufficient nuclear DNA. Animal hairs should be unmounted or dry mounted to maximize their utility. Collect and submit as many hairs as practical. Items containing other types of biological material should be submitted in their entirety. Contact the laboratory for buccal swab kits to sample reference animals. Sample all available pets associated with an investigation. If the suspect animal is no longer available, collect items such as brushes, bedding, toys, food bowls, or swabs of saliva from windows or crates. If the animal is long dead, teeth are a good source of DNA, but confidence in the correct identification of the burial site must be considered.

 
Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, Tel 530-752-2211, Email VGL