NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is adding a new position to its staff that may be more familiar to fans of human-centered crime shows.

Dr. Ernest Rogers is joining the NJSPCA as its first ever “forensic veterinarian.”

Rogers will join the agency’s law enforcement division to help it investigate animal abuses and solve crimes against animals.

State animal welfare officials say veterinary forensics and animal crime scene investigations are growing specialties in veterinary medicine.

The SPCA says that’s due in part to growing public awareness of animal abuse because of television shows like Animal Planet’s “Animal Cops,” and media coverage of high profile abuse cases.

The group says Rogers, of Maplewood Animal Hospital, brings years of experience as an animal expert to the job.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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