Samantha provides a behaviour consultation and expert witness service for both dog owners and legal professionals, as well as assessments for social services, fostering and adoption organisations.
Samantha has 24 years of expertise in dog behaviour and was the first dog trainer in the Republic of Ireland to become a member of the British Association of Professional Dog Trainers. In 2004 she was awarded her qualification in Applied Animal Behaviour from the University of Southampton and also has a certificate in Communication and Counselling Skills from NUI Maynooth.
She has appeared in court on many occasions to provide expert witness and is a composed and knowledgeable witness with deep understanding of all relevant legislation.
Who needs a Dog Behaviour Expert Witness?
Situations where an expert witness can be helpful include:
- Dangerous dog assessments
- Witness for owners who are facing prosecution under the Control of Dogs Act (1986) or the Protection of Animals Acts 1911 and 1965
- Prosecution witness for cases taken under the above acts
- Identification of dog breeds
- Behaviour assessment in cases relating to dog bites, aggression, cruelty, chasing etc
- Assessment of the ability of an owner to manage their dog
- Assessment of dogs for adoption and fostering agencies
- Appearance in court or in arbitration settings as a dog behaviour expert
Behaviour Assessments & Reports
The type of assessment undertaken will vary according to its purpose. In all cases reports provided following assessment are unbiased and include references to current animal behaviour science and to relevant current legislation.
In most legal cases the process is as follows:
- Initial contact is made by an owner or a solicitor with an outline of information relevant to the case.
- The solicitor provides written instructions including evidence related to the case. This may include images, video, medical reports and witness statements.
- Samantha undertakes a full behaviour assessment of the dog in a suitable location depending on the nature of the case.
- A full written report suitable for presentation in court is provided. Additional reporting by video can also be provided if required.
- Where the case goes to court Samantha can appear to give evidence in support of the written report.