NYC Police Commissioner Visits Animal Cruelty Victims Rescued Through ASPCA-NYPD Partnership

Nearly 5,000 animals assisted through innovative collaboration between law enforcement officers and animal welfare professionals
November 11, 2022

NEW YORK – This week, New York City Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Keechant Sewell visited cats and dogs recovering at the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) after they were rescued from various situations of suspected cruelty in New York City through a longstanding partnership between the ASPCA and NYPD. ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker welcomed Commissioner Sewell to the ASPCA Animal Hospital, Adoption Center, and Animal Recovery Center to observe how animal victims of alleged cruelty and neglect are medically and behaviorally rehabilitated.

Since January 2014, the ASPCA has been working closely with the NYPD to prevent and combat animal cruelty across the five boroughs. Through the partnership, the NYPD takes the lead role in responding to all animal cruelty complaints, while the ASPCA directly cares for animal cruelty victims by providing critical support including forensic evaluations, medical treatment, behavior assessments, housing and placement, as well as legal support and training. Since the partnership’s inception, nearly 5,000 animals have been rescued from situations of alleged abuse, and more than 23,000 NYPD officers have been trained by ASPCA subject matter experts to effectively recognize and respond to suspected animal cruelty.

“For nearly nine years, the ASPCA and the NYPD have been working together on rescue operations, law enforcement training, and at community events to help vulnerable and victimized NYC animals get the care and protection they deserve,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA president CEO. “We’re delighted to see Commissioner Sewell so connected and committed to animal welfare, and look forward to working with her, Mayor Adams, and compassionate New Yorkers to continue serving at-risk animals and loving pet owners throughout the city.”

“Since the start of our partnership with the ASPCA, thousands of animals have been rescued and those who abuse them arrested,” said Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell. “With the training the ASPCA provides for officers and our combined commitment to New York City’s vulnerable pets, there is no doubt the success of our collaboration will continue to grow.”

During her visit, Commissioner Sewell had the opportunity to meet multiple animals rescued through the NYPD partnership including Maggio, a dog who was removed from poor conditions along with more than 25 other dogs from a property in Brooklyn earlier this year. At the time of removal, the dogs were discovered in multiple areas of the building, including the backyard and in cages in the basement, many without access to food or clean water and in crates covered in feces and urine. Since the initial removal, the dogs have been receiving ongoing medical care and behavioral treatment while the criminal case is being resolved.

Two members of the NYPD, Sergeant James Priore and Detective Lynne Blas of the 79th precinct, are being presented with ASPCA Appreciation Awards next week for the critical roles they played in bringing these dogs to safety. Sgt. Priore and Det. Blas are being recognized alongside 18 other professionals across the NYPD, veterinary and animal welfare fields, and prosecutors’ offices in New York City for their commitment to the enforcement, investigation and prosecution of animal cruelty and neglect cases as well as providing critical care for animal cruelty victims throughout the year.

Last year, the ASPCA announced the development of its Recovery & Rehabilitation Center in Pawling, N.Y. to expand their capacity to care for animals rescued through the partnership. The facility is slated to open in 2024 and will work in conjunction with the ASPCA's Animal Recovery Center and Canine Annex for Recovery & Enrichment in Manhattan, where they currently provide care for NYC's animal victims of cruelty and neglect.