VGL Forensics


The Veterinary Genetics Laboratory Forensic Section

Pioneering animal forensic science through collaborative research and evidence-based science, establishing best practices, and providing expert testimony.

An ISO/IEC 17025 accredited testing laboratory since 2010

Why Veterinary Forensics?

Animals can be the Victim

  • Animal cruelty
  • Identifying the remains of a lost pet
  • Theft of an animal

Animals can be the Perpetrator

  • Identification of an animal involved in an attack on a person or other animal
  • Identification of an unrestrained animal causing an accident
  • Identification of an animal responsible for property damage

Animals can be the Witness

  • Animal DNA can link a suspect with a crime scene or victim. Transfer of DNA from hair, saliva, blood, urine, or feces can occur during the commission of a crime—from the victim's pet to the suspect or crime scene, and from the suspect's pet to the victim or crime scene.

In response to inquiries, the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory began development of a small-scale veterinary forensic DNA program in the mid-1990s. This program has continued to expand and now the Veterinary Genetics Laboratory Forensic Section (VGL-Forensics) is recognized as a leader in the field of veterinary forensic genetics. As part of one of the largest animal DNA testing laboratories in the world, VGL-Forensics provides forensic DNA testing services to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies as well as the general public.

VGL-Forensics is proud to be the first accredited crime lab dedicated to domestic animal DNA analysis. Our International Standards Organization and International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC) accreditation is through the ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) Forensics program (previously the ASCLD/LAB-International program). We are also the only domestic animal DNA testing laboratory to be accredited by the Texas Forensic Science Commission. Accreditation assures our clients that we are committed to a rigorous quality program that promotes acceptance of our test results in legal proceedings.

Casework received at VGL-Forensics can vary widely. Just a few examples of the types of work we can assist with include:

  • Assisting with current and cold cases from law enforcement agencies around the world.
  • Providing useful answers in high-profile dog fighting and animal cruelty cases.
  • Providing closure to families by identifying missing pets.
  • Identifying the source of suspected mammal contaminants for food safety.
  • Working with Innocence Projects.
  • Collaborating with the ASPCA, animal control, and humane societies.
  • Identifying predation on livestock and endangered species.

We are excited to support the veterinary and wildlife forensic science communities. Please visit our Resources page to learn more about this field and investigate educational opportunities.

Symbol of an ANAB Accredited Forensic Testing Laboratory