Analysis and Identification of Damages Caused by Canine (Canis lupus familiaris) Manipulation of Woven Textiles as Cultural Evidence in Forensic Cases

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Gabriela Molina
Stefano De Luca
Fabiana Scarso


Scavenging of human remains by dogs can make the process of identification and analysis of perimortem trauma difficult. Numerous scientific studies have been published about the damage caused to osseous remains by dogs due to postmortem consumption or
lethal attacks. However, few studies deal with the issue of the analysis of clothing associated with human remains.

The purpose of this investigation was to identify patterns of damage caused by domestic dogs to commonly used, woven textiles. Forty-five cloth bags were used (20 × 30 cm each), made by hand with three different types of woven textile (15 of each textile): stretch
(polyester with elastic), denim, and polyester, with a thickness of 40.84, 57.95, and 31.46 threads per cm², respectively. The canine sample consisted of 15 dogs, differing in size, age, and sex, coming from the “Fundación Chile Mestizo,” in Santiago, Chile. Through analysis of variance, researchers examined the relationship between the type of textile and presence of damage, and later, they calculated the frequency of damage according to type of textile. The statistical program Minitab 19 was used to do this. According to the results, four types of patterns were identified: puncture and mastication, present in 62% and 75% of the cases, respectively; perforation; and “hole and tear” damage in 91% of the analyzed cases. Regarding the relationship between textile type and frequency of damage, researchers found that the thickness and weight of the textile are directly connected to the type of damage. 

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