Animal Welfare

Lets Talk Vets : Animal Welfare Podcasts



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Join us during your drive to/from work to hear about veterinarians working to support their local shelter.
This new series of Podcasts will illustrate how private practice veterinarians can make a difference in their local community. We will share stories and hear from experts and maybe add a little inspiration to your day.

Join our Animal Welfare day at NY Vet - Nov 7th


Animal Welfare Track at NY Vet - Nov 7th

Animal Welfare for Private Practice Veterinarians

Your life is dedicated to caring for animals. Maybe you wonder what you could do more for animals without the safety of a caring home? This is the program for you.

NYSVMS has partnered with ASPCA to bring you a day of learning and discussion about how all veterinarians can become more effective at caring for the less fortunate animals in your community.

A panel of four experts from ASPCA will guide you through the day:
Dr. Alison Liu, Dr. Laura Niestat, Elizabeth Brandler, Erin Satterthwaite,

10:00-10:50 AM: An Overview of the Law and Reporting Animal Related Crimes

This presentation will provide an overview of animal related laws, both in New York and other states and discuss certain warning signs that veterinarians can look for to help identify suspected animal related abuse in their daily practice.  The presentation will further address best practices for documenting possible abuse and steps veterinarians can take to report such concerns to law enforcement, including the potential benefits and risks associated with reporting (and not reporting) suspected abuse to law enforcement. 


11:10-12:00: Real Case Examples related to Part 1

This will be a case-based presentation highlighting the topics covered in the first segment.  Each of the cases discussed will be an animal abuse case seen by the ASPCA over the past five years and will demonstrate key medical, forensic, and legal points. 


14:30-15:20: Walking Through a Case and How to Handle It

This will be an interactive discussion of one (or two) case example(s) from start to finish.  Participants will be called upon to use the information previously discussed to suggest best practices when faced with certain fact scenarios.  These best practices will include making a good faith report to authorities, providing appropriate veterinary medical treatment, documenting the animals’ injuries, communicating with owners, and preparing with prosecutors.


15:40-16:30: Testimony Workshop

This presentation will focus on tips for testifying in a criminal hearing or trial.   It will include tips for preparing a CV and an expert veterinary report as well as a mock Q&A where participants can see first-hand how to answer certain types of questions while testifying.

Panel from ASPCA

Dr. Alison Liu, Forensic Veterinarian.

Dr. Alison Liu obtained her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University.  After completing a small animal medicine and surgery internship at the ASPCA Animal Hospital in New York City, she worked as a Shelter Veterinarian at Wayside Waifs in Kansas City, Missouri.  During her nearly three years as Shelter Veterinarian, Dr. Liu also continued to assist the ASPCA’s Field Investigation and Response team with large scale animal cruelty cases.

Dr. Liu has been a Forensic Veterinarian with the ASPCA’s Forensic Sciences Team in New York City for four years.  She helps support to ASPCA’s partnership with the NYPD by providing forensic evaluation of both live and deceased animals that are part of alleged animal cruelty cases.  She has served as an expert witness in over thirty-five cases in New York City courts. 

Dr. Liu has earned Graduate Certificates in Veterinary Forensic Sciences and Shelter Medicine from the University of Florida.  She gives presentations to veterinary students and veterinarians about veterinary forensic medicine.


Dr. Laura Niestat, Forensic Veterinarian.
Dr. Laura Niestat is a 2000 graduate of Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine and completed a rotating internship in medicine and surgery at the Manhattan Veterinary Group. In 2016, she received a Master’s degree in Veterinary Forensic Science from the University of Florida.  

Dr. Niestat joined the ASPCA as a staff veterinarian in 2009 and began working exclusively with animal cruelty cases in 2013.  She joined the forensics team in 2014 and provides forensic support and expert witness testimony for animal cruelty investigations in New York City. 

Prior to coming to the ASPCA, Dr. Niestat served as the Medical Director at the Manhattan Veterinary Group on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and worked as an emergency and critical care clinician in Boston.  Dr. Niestat has delivered lectures and participated in trainings for the NYPD and veterinary professionals in forensic veterinary science and recognizing animal abuse.


Elizabeth Brandler, Legal Advocacy Senior Counsel.
Elizabeth Brandler currently serves as Legal Advocacy Senior Counsel for the ASPCA. In this role, Elizabeth is responsible for the development and management of the ASPCA’s second chair program, which provides legal support to law enforcement and prosecutors handling animal cruelty and animal fighting cases across the country.  Elizabeth also provides and oversees dedicated legal services for the ASPCA-NYPD partnership in New York City, and brings bonding and forfeiture petitions on behalf of the ASPCA.  Elizabeth also provides assistance and legal advice to other ASPCA departments that are involved in criminal case work.  

Elizabeth came to the ASPCA in 2012, after spending six years with the Bronx County District Attorney’s Office, where she was an Assistant District Attorney in the Investigations Division. In that capacity, she successfully prosecuted numerous animal cruelty and animal fighting cases. She also served with distinction as a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the office of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and as a Special Prosecutor for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. Beth received her B.S. in Biology from the University of Richmond and her J.D. from New York University School of Law.

Erin Satterthwaite, Legal Advocacy Bronx Counsel
Erin Satterthwaite currently serves as Legal Advocacy Bronx Counsel for the ASPCA. In her current position, Erin provides training and legal support to police and prosecutors handling animal cruelty and fighting cases in New York City. In her role, she regularly files bond and forfeiture petitions on behalf of the ASPCA in active criminal cases. She also provides legal support to the ASPCA departments involved in criminal case work, including the Humane Law Enforcement team and the Community Engagement team.

Prior to joining the ASPCA in August of 2017, Erin worked as a prosecutor in New York for seven years, with a specific focus on animal cruelty cases.  Erin earned her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of Central Florida, and her law degree from the University of North Carolina School of Law.  Erin lives in New York City and is licensed to practice law in both New York and North Carolina.