CSI: My cat

A lab technician looks for blood and saliva on the sweatshirt of a child attacked by a dog. Credit: Courtesy of Gordy Slack" />A lab technician looks for blood and saliva on the sweatshirt of a child attacked by a dog. Credit: Courtesy of Gordy Slack The forensic unit of the University of California, Davis, Veterinary Genetics Laboratory is housed in a small cluster of run-down, double-wide trailers surrounded by silos and fields. The day I visited, director Elizabeth Wictum and her t

Gordy Slack
Sep 1, 2007
<figcaption>A lab technician looks for blood and saliva on the sweatshirt of a child attacked by a dog. Credit: Courtesy of Gordy Slack</figcaption>
A lab technician looks for blood and saliva on the sweatshirt of a child attacked by a dog. Credit: Courtesy of Gordy Slack

The forensic unit of the University of California, Davis, Veterinary Genetics Laboratory is housed in a small cluster of run-down, double-wide trailers surrounded by silos and fields. The day I visited, director Elizabeth Wictum and her team had just finished analyzing dog hairs found on the clothes of two Atlanta murder victims. They compared the specimens to hairs collected decades ago from the dog of the man convicted of the murders in 1982, reasoning if the hairs didn't match, he may be innocent.

The dog-eared lab has a noir charm that is reflected in Wictum's world-weary nonchalance. The crimes that come across her cluttered desk are often brutal enough to harden the kindest heart. "Two times last year I had to testify about dogs burned in ovens,"...

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