A Dog Has No Name


A donation-based service to help support forensic examinations of dogs without a name.

In the United States alone, there are estimated to be several million stray or abandoned dogs whose identities and stories are not known. The lucky ones will be rescued by humane societies and animal rescue groups, and adopted by loving families who give them the safe forever home they deserve; but for some, the story is much darker. The terrible truth is some of these dogs will not survive as they succumb to natural disease, accidents, or, in the worst cases, they become victims of animal abuse. It is for these lost souls that the “A Dog Has No Name” project was created.

The purpose of this project is to attempt to tell the story of those dogs that died without a name, and in doing so, identify those cases in which animal abuse is suspected so a criminal investigation can be initiated. When a case of animal abuse is identified, our project will ensure that the submitting agency has the well-documented evidence needed to successfully investigate and prosecute these cases. Within the College of Veterinary Medicine, and throughout the University of Florida, we have access to a multitude of forensic experts including a veterinary forensic pathologist, forensic entomologist, forensic DNA analyst, forensic anthropologist, and forensic toxicologists, as well as state of the art imaging facilities.

In order to obtain our goal the project will have a number of objectives including:

  • Determining the cause of death
  • Estimating the time of death
  • Identifying the individual dog as best as possible (microchip, tattoo, previous surgery) and collecting a DNA sample

As any case can possibly be flagged as an animal abuse case, all cases enrolled in this project will be handled in a manner appropriate for forensic investigations. Once our investigation is complete, the submitting agency will then be in the position to take over and begin a criminal investigation if determined to be necessary.

Frequently asked questions

Where do submitted cases come from?

This maps shows where cases submitted to this program have originated from.

Who pays for the forensic examinations?

Our ability to examine dogs without a name relies largely on the generosity of animal lovers like you. We encourage animal lovers to make a donation to A Dog Has No Name, to assist with funding of these important examinations.

We would like to thank Dogs & Cats Stranded on the Streets for their generous financial support of this program

Who receives the results from the forensic examinations?

The agency that submitted the dog for examination will receive the results.

How do I submit a case to the program?

Please contact us via telephone or email to discuss your particular case.
The submitting agency must fill out a submission form.

For more information please contact:
Dr. Adam W. Stern
Professor of Forensic Pathology
University of Florida, College of Veterinary Medicine