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A Case of Postmortem Canine Depredation

Chute, Dennis J. MD; Bready, Robert J. MS

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: June 2017 - Volume 38 - Issue 2 - p 100–102
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000303
Case Reports

We report the case of postmortem animal depredation that produced initial confusion for investigators who responded to the scene. A decomposing elderly woman was found in her presumed home with bilateral upper extremity amputations and craniocerebral trauma. This raised suspicion of foul play. Subsequent investigations together with autopsy led the medical examiner to conclude that the cause of death was natural disease and that those injuries found on her body were produced by at least one of the dogs who shared the premises. We linked the canine culprit to the postmortem trauma and positively identified the remains by collecting material defecated by the animal and by using radiologic and dental comparison techniques.

From the Dutchess County Medical Examiner's Office, Poughkeepsie, NY.

Manuscript received November 25, 2016; accepted January 22, 2017.

The authors report no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Dennis J. Chute, MD, Dutchess County Medical Examiner's Office, 168 Washington Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601. E-mail:

© 2017 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.