COLUMBIA, Mo.– A $50,000 grant from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will provide scholarship opportunities for students studying animal cruelty investigation at the University of Missouri Extension Law Enforcement Training Institute (LETI).

LETI’s National Animal Cruelty Investigations School licenses students as Certified Humane Investigators and is open to employees of agencies associated with animal welfare, including law enforcement officers, shelter professionals and veterinarians.

“We are well aware of the invaluable skills and knowledge offered by the Law Enforcement Training Institute, and we hope to make the training and classes available across the country to more individuals who are committed to the welfare of animals,” said Justine Dang, director of ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Group Operations.

“Through the generosity of the ASPCA’s scholarship grant, our National Animal Cruelty Investigations School will be able to offer valuable training to caring individuals throughout the United States,” added John Worden, LETI director. “The ASPCA’s grant will allow jurisdictions to receive partial scholarships for their employees to attend our training and thus provide greater expertise in their animal neglect and abuse investigations.”

The ASPCA grant will enable LETI to offer almost 170 partial scholarships, giving employees of agencies and organizations with limited budgets the opportunity to learn the skills required to investigate animal cruelty cases in their communities, including animal fighting, puppy mill and animal hoarding cases.

Last year, the ASPCA gave 50 partial scholarships for students to attend the school. Many alumni of the program have become leaders in the field of anti-cruelty investigations, including ASPCA Field Investigations & Response Team members: Tim Rickey, vice president; Kathryn Destreza, investigations director; Adam Leath, regional director, Southeast region; Kyle Held, regional director, Midwest region; and George O’Brien, regional director, Northeast region. These alumni have played leading roles in many large-scale animal cruelty investigations, including the largest dog fighting seizure in U.S. history.

Classes are held at MU as well as in cities in 13 states, including Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Maine, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. Over a four-week period, students learn all aspects of animal cruelty investigations from a nationally recognized faculty of law enforcement personnel, veterinarians, animal control officers and other animal welfare professionals. Program topics include evidence collection, exotic animal handling, animal law, interpreting animal behavior and criminal questioning techniques.

To apply for a scholarship to the National Animal Cruelty Investigations School or for a full list of participating cities, go to

About the ASPCA

Founded in 1866, the ASPCA (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit

About the MU Extension Law Enforcement Training Institute

The University of Missouri Extension Law Enforcement Training Institute provides basic and advanced law enforcement training as well as animal cruelty investigation programs. Graduates from all 50 states and Canada go on to serve public safety agencies at the local, state and national levels. For more information, visit

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