CPT’s Mark Spivak Speaks at the State Bar of GA Animal Law Symposium

CPT’s founder and Head Trainer Mark Spivak presented at the Fall 2017 Animal Law Symposium held at the Georgia Bar Association building in Atlanta. The symposium, “Uniting Legal, Law Enforcement, Veterinary, and Shelter Professionals,” was hosted by Animal Law Source.

Animal Law Source’s mission is to provide education, awareness, legislative action, and professional action that improve the welfare of animals within the State of Georgia. Animal Law Source founders, Claudine Wilkins and Jessica Rock were highly instrumental in developing the Animal Law section of the Georgia Bar and in authoring much of the recent legislation related to animal cruelty, dog fighting, and animal control.

Mark’s presentation was entitled “Training and Behavioral Advances Obtained from Canine fMRI.” The talk discussed research findings from Emory University/CPT’s “Dog Project” and Dog Star Technologies that answered the questions:

• Can dogs take MRIs without the use of sedation or restraints?

• Who do dogs prefer: humans or dogs?

• Does it matter who accompanies a food reward?

• Can fMRI be used to determine a dog’s suitability for a working role?

• Do dogs exhibit inhibitory control similarly to humans?

• Is inhibitory control generalized to multiple contexts?

• What is the extent of the average dog’s working memory?

• Does working and spatial memory vary amongst dogs?

• Are there temperament correlates or other identifiable correlates that correspond to working and spatial memory?

• Do dogs have an area in the brain exclusively dedicated to the visual processing of faces?

• Do dogs process human faces similarly to how they process canine faces?

• Do dogs prefer food or praise?

• Or does preference depend upon the dog?

• Is preference subject to depletion?

• Do dogs exhibit jealousy?

• If yes, where in the brain is jealousy exhibited?

• What is the temperament profile of a jealous dog?

• Can canine fMRI accurately predict which dogs will develop into optimal service dogs?

• Can awake, nonrestrained MRI have practical utility in the veterinary field?

• Can awake, nonrestrained MRI detect cancer in early stages?

• Are there other veterinary applications for alert canine fMRI?

The talk was well received by the audience, who appreciated Mark’s animated, enthusiastic presentation style.

Other speakers and subjects at the 2-day conference held on September 20 and 21 included:

• Claudine Wilkins and Jessica Rock, founders of Animal Law Source- “Mock Trial of an Animal Cruelty Case”

• Mike Duffey, Animal Crimes Investigator, Humane Society of Southern Arizona Animal Cruelty Task Force- “Creating a Task Force”

• John Thompson, Deputy Executive Director of the National Sheriff’s Association and Co-Chair of The National Coalition on Violence Against Animals- “The Link Between Animal Cruelty and Other Forms of Family Violence”

• Claudine Wilkins and Jessica Rock, founders of Animal Law Source- “Animal Law and Reporting Animal Cruelty for Veterinarians”

• Rachel Thompson, HSUS, Pets for Life- “Law Enforcement and Animal Control: Be a Resource Not the Enemy

• Brian Forsgren, DVM, Chief of Staff, Gateway Animal Clinic, Cleveland, OH- “Low Cost But Top Quality Vet Care, Providing Access to Care for All Pet Owners”

• Panel Discussion- “Ten Things Shelters Should Do to Increase Adoptions, Change Perceptions, Innovate, and Avoid Liability”

• Madi Hawkins, Director of Habersham County Animal Control and Susan Garcia, Director of Cherokee County Animal Shelter- “Puppy Mills and Backyard Breeders”

• Claudine Wilkins and Jessica Rock, founders of Animal Law Source- “Case Preparation for All Parties Involved in a Case, Courtroom Presentation, Control of Evidence, Tools to Remove Cost of Impound, and Holding Evidence”

• Victoria Stillwell, Celebrity Dog Trainer- “Increasing Shelter Adoptions Through Training and Enrichment”

• Chris Schindler, Humane Society of the United States, Manager of Animal Fighting Investigations- “Animal Fighting”

• Prof. Gregory Berns, MD, PhD, Emory University- “A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain”

• Amy Soeldner, Atlanta Police Department- “Law Enforcement and Dog Encounters”

• Mike Duffey, Animal Crimes Investigator, Humane Society of Southern Arizona Animal Cruelty Task Force- “Dogfighting for Veterinarians and Vet Techs”

• Nichole Dandrea, Best Friends Animal Society- “Social Media 101”

• Cindy Wiemann, Assistant Division Manager, Gwinnett County Animal Welfare and Enforcement- “Many Hats of the Professional Animal Control Officer”

The event was informative, productive, and provided excellent networking opportunities for Mark’s participation as an expert witness in criminal and civil cases involving canine behavior and animal law.

Persons wishing to request CPT speakers or expert witness services should contact CPT via email.


(Atlanta, GA)

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