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Animal Detectives: When Furry Friends Help Solve Crimes

Posted By CSI Academy of Florida || 3-Feb-2016

If in a word association game you were told to say the first thing that popped into your mind when hearing the phrase “crime solving animal”, chances are “Scooby Doo” or even “police dogs” might list among potential answers. You may be surprised to know that a multitude of animals have played a huge part in solving cases—sometimes by heroically defending their owner and sometimes by just being their normal furry selves.

Take a look at a few animals who assisted crime scene investigators in putting the culprits behind bars.

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For years, dogs have been touted as man’s best friend. Unfortunately, this occasionally results in the overlooking of other species who deserve a similar title for their faithful companionship. One such deserving animal was an 18-inch white-crested cockatoo named Bird. Bird proved his love and loyalty by trying to fight off two men who broke into his house and began to stab his owner. Sadly, the pair did not survive and the murderers escaped the crime scene. When investigators arrived, it became apparent that the cockatoo had died defending his owner, but not before inflicting damage on the culprits. Blood found on Bird’s beak and claws was traced to two brothers who later admitted their guilt.

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Sometimes, animals even have the ability to contribute to a case post-mortem. Once, a cold case was solved with some cold cuts—of frozen venison to be exact. In 1997, a Pennsylvania hunter was found dead in the woods after being shot in the back. Two piles of deer entrails were found nearby, but only one doe. One of the suspects was found with venison in his freezer, though he denied having gone into the woods that day. Police gathered DNA from the deer entrails as well as samples from the frozen meat, but the technology at the time couldn’t confirm the two were the same. Later in 2004, the case was re-opened and a lab concluded the samples shared the same DNA. The match, plus testimonies confirming the suspect's spoken desire to kill the victim, aided in the conviction of the criminal.

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Another lesser known case in which an animal provided crucial evidence to an investigation involved a deadly murderer and his cat. In 2012, a murder victim was found on Southsea Beach in England wrapped in a curtain.

Upon taking a closer look at the curtain itself, investigators found eight cat hairs of evidence. At the time, the UK did not have a system in place to thoroughly test the hairs, so it was sent to a DNA forensics unit in California who concluded that the hair belonged to the cat of a suspect in the case. This combined with other evidence was more than enough to convict the suspect of murder. The cat’s hair not only put a criminal behind bars, but also instigated the UK’s very own feline hair database to be used in future investigations.

Even Pet Detectives Need a Watson

Even details as small as cat hairs can make a world of difference when investigating crime scenes. At CSI Academy of Florida, you can learn how to find answers and sift through evidence (no matter how odd) to help determine a just verdict in a case. Our academy proudly holds students to the highest standards when handling investigations, and is dedicated to training skilled forensic scientists and thorough crime scene investigators.

Interested in learning more? Check out our courses or call us today!

Categories: Forensic Science