Module 3: The Case of the Embedded Collar

Is This an Animal Abuse Case?

Embedded collars are a common injury seen at shelters. Shelter staff was quick to jump to the conclusion that this was an embedded collar case and that the owners should be prosecuted for animal cruelty. Embedded collars result from collars placed on puppies that are not removed as the puppy grows into an adult. This is due to owner negligence.

What is the role of the shelter veterinarian in a situation like this? Does the veterinarian need any special training or qualifications to work on an animal cruelty case? How should medical findings be documented? Does the veterinarian need to “make the case” for prosecution? Does the medical evidence in this case support a charge of animal cruelty?

As you are mulling over these questions, an animal control officer hands you his investigative report on the case. The dog’s owners were located through the microchip number and he conducted interviews with them and their neighbors. Here are the facts:


Animal Control Officer Report

  • The puppy is a 5-month old neutered male that is vaccinated and licensed. The owners produced medical records showing routine care by a local veterinarian.
  • The puppy escaped from the yard at 9 am during a bath. The owners state the dog did not have any injuries when it ran away.
  • The owners searched the entire neighborhood for several hours but could not find the dog.
  • A 12-year old boy in the neighborhood found the dog around 10 am. He made a leash out of some cord and tied the dog outside the house while he ran in to get his parents. When the boy and his parents returned minutes later, the dog was gone. The dog had chewed through the cord to get free.
  • Another neighbor found the dog in his yard and took him to the shelter because of his concern for a bleeding wound around the neck.
  • The shelter contacted the owners at 6 pm using the microchip information. The owners came immediately to the shelter to reclaim their dog.


Based on the investigative facts and the veterinary examination findings, do you think the dog’s injury was ACCIDENTAL or an INTENTIONAL act to do harm?


Test Your Knowledge



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