Állatorvosi szakértői tevékenység a laboratóriumi vizsgálatok tükrében
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Background: In Hungary, animal cruelty is a felony sanctioned by the Penal Code. Experts can greatly assist juries in issuing appropriate judicial verdicts. Expert findings that cover the necessary details and answer all technical questions aid juries to determine the facts in an animal cruelty case. Hence, it is extremely important to continuously improve the quality of the examination routines of the veterinary expert. This includes the efficiency of forensic pathology, which is required to provide more appropriate expert statements. Objectives: This study aims to share experiences from laboratory diagnostic cases carried out at the request of the local authority in the framework of the official procedure. The authors intend to draw attention to possible mistakes in routine pathological examinations, and thus provide a better perspective for veterinary expert work. Materials and methods: All the examinations are taken from official cases, each performed due to suspicion of animal cruelty. The forensics carried out by the Veterinary Diagnostic Directorate regional Pathology Departments from the beginning of 2019 to the end of 2022. Results and Discussion: During the 4 years period 165 official requests were received. On a pathological basis, the most frequently diagnosed offender behavior was abuse, followed by neglect, and lastly poisoning. Considering the animal abuse crime, out of all wound types, half of the cases were bullet trauma. During the crime scene investigation, sampling has a decisive influence on the effectiveness of the subsequent pathological work. Therefore, special attention must be paid to sending the sample in the correct way. Furthermore, veterinarians participating in expert work must know the documentation to be recorded both during on-site inspection and pathology. Prosecutors require the appropriate knowledge and understanding of the evidence in question to present and challenge expert evidence. It is also worth mentioning that experts are getting increasingly into the focus of social interest due to social sensitivity, which is further amplified by the fiction of media products.