5,000 Suspected Victims of Animal Cruelty Treated in NYC as ASPCA, NYPD Celebrate 10 Years of Lifesaving Partnership

The decade of collaboration has resulted in a nearly 300% increase in animals assisted and 28,000 NYPD officers trained by ASPCA experts to effectively recognize and respond to animal abuse
April 9, 2024

New York, N.Y.—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) and the New York City Police Department (NYPD) today are announcing that more than 5,000 animal victims of suspected cruelty have been treated since the inception of their unprecedented partnership 10 years ago, and more than 28,000 NYPD officers have been trained to effectively recognize and respond to animal abuse. The two organizations commemorate this collaboration during Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month.

“Ten years ago, the oldest and largest animal welfare organization in the country joined forces with one of the oldest and largest law enforcement agencies in the country to combat animal cruelty and ensure animals are protected under the law – underscoring the value of animals in our lives and in our communities,” said Matt Bershadker, President & CEO of the ASPCA. “Since then, New York City has reimagined what it looks like to comprehensively address animal welfare issues in communities across the five boroughs through an innovative and collaborative approach involving law enforcement, a network of shelter and veterinary partners, as well as human services agencies, resulting in a record number of animal lives saved and a significant increase in critical resources to keep pets out of shelters and in loving homes.”

With the expanded enforcement capabilities of the NYPD’s more than 35,000 uniformed officers, including its Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad, the ASPCA has been able to treat record numbers of suspected animal cruelty victims in New York City each year – a nearly 300 percent increase since the inception of the partnership – while the NYPD has dramatically increased the enforcement of animal crimes in the five boroughs, and the NYC District Attorney’s Offices have successfully prosecuted hundreds of cases involving abused and neglected animals.

“The partnership between the NYPD and the ASPCA is crucial in helping some of the most vulnerable victims in our city: abused or neglected animals,” stated NYPD Commissioner Edward A. Caban. “Our police officers have always recognized the importance of protecting the defenseless, including our animal companions. Over the past decade, we have increased the number of investigations into cases of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. And together, we have worked to ensure that all mistreated animals receive necessary medical care, shelter, and rehabilitation. I commend our officers and the entire ASPCA team for their unwavering commitment to this vital aspect of our shared public safety mission.”

“Animal cruelty has no place in the greatest city in the world, and must be taken seriously,” said Alexandra Silver, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Animal Welfare. “The remarkable partnership between the NYPD and the ASPCA, drawing on the strengths and resources of both organizations, has helped thousands of animals and continues to make New York safer and more humane for all. I thank and congratulate everyone involved in this important work over the past decade for their collaboration, compassion, and commitment to protecting one of our most vulnerable populations.”

Through this partnership, the NYPD is the primary agency responsible for enforcing animal cruelty laws, while the ASPCA directly cares for animal cruelty victims by providing critical support including forensic evaluations, medical care, behavior assessments, treatment, and enrichment, housing and placement. The ASPCA’s legal advocacy and humane law enforcement teams, comprised of former law enforcement officers and assistant district attorneys, also offer crucial, around-the-clock investigative and legal assistance to the NYPD and District Attorney Offices.

The unprecedented partnership has spurred additional collaborations and advancements that have permanently changed how New York City protects its most vulnerable animals. Through a coordinated effort involving law enforcement, animal welfare organizations including Animal Care Centers of New York City, and a network of veterinary and shelter partners, there has been a significant increase in critical resources that keep New York City’s pets out of shelters and in loving homes. This includes services offered by the ASPCA Community Engagement team, which works with pet owners and local agencies to provide access to low-cost veterinary care, spay/neuter services and additional resources such as pet food and supplies and proper pet housing across the city. The ASPCA also works closely with the NYPD and human service providers, including domestic violence and elderly care programs, to refer pet owners to additional services and support for the entire family. Since 2014, NYPD officers have made nearly 700 referrals to the ASPCA Community Engagement team resulting in 1,600 animals assisted through non-criminal intervention.