Someone abused One-Eyed Willy so severely that they knocked out…
Skinny dog found by animal CSI investigators (Dona Ana County Sheriff's Department)
Updated: Wednesday, 12 May 2010, 12:00 PM MDT
Published : Wednesday, 05 May 2010, 9:30 PM MDT
DONA ANA COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) - A Rio Rancho veterinarian is at the center of New Mexico's only crime-scene investigation team dedicated solely to fighting crimes against animals and putting animal abusers behind bars.
The Doña Ana County Sheriff's Department established the team in 2007, after a series of large-scale investigations.
"We had some unique cases happen here in Doña Ana County,” said criminal investigator Robyn Gojkovich, who heads the animal CSI team. "This is new water we’re treading on."
Department officials decided to expand their focus on crimes against animals with additional manpower and resources that are now in high demand across the state. Among their tools is a full-scale, mobile crime lab that also acts as an animal hospital on wheels. The full-size RV is outfitted to accommodate dozens of animals at once.
"If an animal ends up either being euthanized or is dead on scene, we will do a forensic autopsy. In the animal world, it’s called a forensic necropsy," said Dr. Patricia Feeser, one of just a handful of forensic U.S. veterinarians routinely working animal cruelty cases in conjunction with law enforcement. "Every single animal that I evaluate I will do a full medical record on. I do medical photographs. Those photographs have to be labeled as good as any CSI on a human case."
Dr. Feeser was recently called to assist Bernalillo County detectives in a case involving a man suspected of using his neighbors' small dogs as bait for his fighting pit bull. One of the alleged victims, a miniature pinscher, was found bleeding and dragging itself down the street in the suspect’s southeast Albuquerque neighborhood. Feeser performed a forensic necropsy inside her Rio Rancho office.
"There was extensive damage underneath the skin that you could not see just from looking," Dr. Feeser said.
The investigation showed the small dog died after a fight with a larger dog, Feeser said. Her findings allowed detectives to move forward with the investigation and arrest the suspect – Richard Jojola, 18.
"We are getting called for agency assistance all throughout the state," Feeser said.
The work of the animal CSI team has certainly proved effective in Doña Ana County, according to criminal investigator Robyn Gojkovich. The team’s investigations range from severe hoarding cases, to animal abuse, to dog fighting and cockfighting operations.
"I can go back and compare our cases in 2007, 2008, to the cases that we work now and they’re a lot better," said Gojkovich. "They’re more efficient."