Murdoch University Research Repository

Welcome to the Murdoch University Research Repository

The Murdoch University Research Repository is an open access digital collection of research
created by Murdoch University staff, researchers and postgraduate students.

Learn more

When forensic pathology entomology and veterinary meet: a case of ‘unfitness to plead’, neglect and animal cruelty

Guareschi, E.ORCID: 0000-0001-9883-9872, Fico, R. and Magni, P.A. (2018) When forensic pathology entomology and veterinary meet: a case of ‘unfitness to plead’, neglect and animal cruelty. In: 24th International Symposium of the Australian and New Zealand Forensic Society (ANZFSS), 9-13 September 2018, Perth, Western Australia.

Microsoft PowerPoint (Poster)
Download (39MB)


In late February 2016, in Parma, Italy, the medical examiner was called on a crime scene investigation: a 43 years-old man was found dead in his bedroom inside his apartment. The quilt and the curtains of the room were partially burnt and a great amount of garbage was overall present. During the crime scene examination, the carcasses of a dog, a cat and a turtle were also found. The corpse and the pets were in different stage of decomposition and several insect specimens were present.

Subsequent external examination, CT-scans, autopsy and anthropological-odontological examinations were performed on the body. The cause of death was determined in septic shock secondary to extended burns (degrees 1-4) which had not been treated at the time of the occurrence, death occurring several days after the fact. A forensic entomology analysis was performed on photographic records, no living insects were found at the scene or on the body, whereas empty puparia were present on the bed, the carcasses and in the surrounding areas. A forensic veterinary analysis has also been performed on the 3 long-time deceased pets, their cause of death was, most likely, determined in neglect and starvation.

The aim of this case report presentation is to analyse the versatility of disciplines and experts needed when humans and animals are involved in the same forensic case. Considering that animal cruelty has been only recently deemed as a felony in many developed countries, a brief survey of the legal overview in some of these countries will be explained, together with statistics.

The present case went to court on allegations of abandonment of a mentally incompetent person from the parents’ part, and suspicion of animal cruelty.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Conference Website:
Item Control Page Item Control Page


Downloads per month over past year