Science & Technology

UGA College of Veterinary Medicine to host annual shelter medicine seminar

Athens, Ga. – The fourth annual Shelter Medicine Seminar will be held Jan. 29 at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine. The all-day event is focused on the best management and medicine practices for local and regional animal shelters. People who work with animal rescue groups, animal control facilities and humane societies in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina are encouraged to attend.

The student chapter of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians will host the event. There is no registration fee, but all attendees must register by Jan. 21. To register or for more information, contact Heather Tucker at or 478/396-0665.

“We try hard to have speakers who are leaders in this field of veterinary medicine and who can relate to the attendees in such a way that they can take something from the seminar to integrate into their shelter medicine programs,” said Tucker, ASV student chapter president and seminar organizer. “Our goal is to bring together people who can network and foster resources that can help improve and strengthen their individual shelter programs for years to come.”

This year’s keynote speaker is Dr. Melinda Merck, a veterinary forensic scientist who helped compile evidence to prosecute NFL quarterback Michael Vick in 2007 for his involvement in an illegal dog-fighting ring. Merck is frequently called upon to provide expert testimony in legal cases involving animal cruelty, including animal fighting and neglect. She is the senior director of veterinary forensics at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in New York; she also helped establish the International Veterinary Forensic Sciences Association. In addition to traveling around the U.S. educating veterinarians on forensic science, Merck helped launch the University of Florida’s online certificate program in veterinary forensics, a collaborative effort with the ASPCA.

At the UGA seminar, Merck will present two lectures on forensic science.

Other scheduled presenters include Dr. Brenda Griffin, associate professor of shelter medicine at the University of Florida; Dr. Gloria Dorsey, vice president of medical services for the Atlanta Humane Society; Dr. Janet Martin, staff veterinarian and developer of the new shelter medicine program at UGA; Dr. Miranda Spindel, senior director of shelter medicine for the ASPCA; and Dr. Gerryll G. Hall, lead veterinarian of Intervet/Schering-Plough Animal Health’s VetReach Program and a private practitioner in Atlanta.

Sponsors for the UGA Shelter Medicine Seminar include Nestlé Purina, PetSmart Charities and the Association of Shelter Veterinarians.

The UGA College of Veterinary Medicine, founded in 1946, is dedicated to training future veterinarians, to conducting research related to animal and human diseases and to providing veterinary services for animals and their owners. Research efforts are aimed at enhancing the quality of life for animals and people, improving the productivity of poultry and livestock and preserving a healthy interface between wildlife and people in the environment they share. The college enrolls 102 students each fall out of more than 560 who apply. For more information, see

The current UGA College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital, built in 1979, serves more than 18,000 patients per year in one of the smallest teaching hospitals in the U.S. The college is currently working to raise $15 million toward building a new Veterinary Medical Learning Center, which will include a new teaching hospital as well as classrooms and laboratories that will allow for the education of more veterinarians. For more information, see