NEW YORK—After a successful four-month pilot program in the Bronx, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) and the New York City Police Department (NYPD) have announced the full citywide rollout of their strategic and pioneering collaboration to provide broader and enhanced protection to New York City’s animals and quicker enforcement of animal cruelty laws.
With this partnership, the NYPD takes the lead role in responding to all animal cruelty complaints in the five boroughs, while the ASPCA expands its direct care support for animal cruelty victims, including medical treatment, behavior assessments and rehabilitation, and housing and placement. The change—given NYPD’s tens of thousands of officers across 77 precincts—accelerates and widens police responses to animal abuse complaints, and expedites the ASPCA’s rescue and treatment of abused animals.
The ASPCA also is increasing its assistance to law enforcement officials in the form of forensics work, comprehensive legal services, field assistance, and ongoing training and educational materials for officers. All eight NYPD patrol boroughs, several detective boroughs, the Housing Bureau, and the Legal Bureau—as well as a number of assistant district attorneys—have been trained by ASPCA staff with extensive NYPD or New York City prosecutorial experience.
The ASPCA-NYPD partnership officially launched in the Bronx on September 1. During the four month period from September 1 through December 31, the NYPD responded to more than 800 calls to 911 and 311, took more than 25 complaint reports, and made eight arrests. More than 30 animals related to these cases have received care at the ASPCA Animal Hospital. The expansion to all five boroughs began operationally on January 1, and within less than three weeks, there have been 16 complaint reports taken across the five boroughs, three arrests, and 24 animals rescued.
“This partnership combines the breadth and expertise of two of New York City’s most respected organizations, serving victimized and neglected animals in every borough,” said Matthew Bershadker, president and chief executive officer of the ASPCA. “We’re already well on pace to saving four to five times as many animals each year than the ASPCA has done during any year in recent history.”
Bershadker added, “Having the full force of the NYPD protecting New York’s most vulnerable animals not only saves countless lives, but also signals the seriousness of animal cruelty and the need to prevent it.”
NYPD Commissioner William J. Bratton said, “The NYPD is proud to partner with the ASPCA in the fight against animal cruelty. NYPD Officers have historically enforced laws to protect the city’s animals and now the NYPD will be taking the lead role in investigating incidents of animal abuse and neglect citywide.”
At the beginning of the partnership, the ASPCA hired Elizabeth Brandler, a former Bronx County assistant district attorney, and George Kline, a 25-year retired veteran of the NYPD, to provide essential support to the NYPD related to anti-cruelty law enforcement. George is responsible for coordinating training of NYPD personnel on animal cruelty matters, while Beth is responsible for providing criminal law expertise to assist in the prosecution of animal cruelty cases.
For cases outside of the criminal justice system, the ASPCA continues to leverage its innovative Cruelty Intervention Advocacy (CIA) program that gets to the root causes of suffering, including intervention in cases involving hoarding and the provision of critical resources to pet owners who find themselves and their animals in unstable situations. By working with individuals who are open to receiving help through a holistic approach, more than 4,000 animals in jeopardy have been saved.
To report animal cruelty in any of the five boroughs, the public is encouraged to call 311 or submit an online complaint. For crimes in progress, individuals should call 911.