NYPD-ASPCA Partnership Reports Record-Breaking Number of Animal Cruelty Arrests and Rescues

First six months of city-wide partnership show dramatic increases in arrests, summonses and animals rescued
July 31, 2014

NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) and the New York City Police Department (NYPD) are reporting significant progress in the fight against animal cruelty in New York City since January 1, when the NYPD took the lead role in responding to all animal cruelty complaints in the five boroughs and the ASPCA expanded its direct care support for its victims. Through June 30th, there were 70 arrests and nearly 200 animals rescued and treated by the ASPCA, an increase of nearly 160 percent and 180 percent, respectively, over the same period last year.

The record-breaking increases are a result of accelerated and widened police responses to alleged animal abuse complaints, as well as the ASPCA’s increased direct care support for animal cruelty victims, including medical treatment, behavior assessments and rehabilitation, and housing and placement.

“The clear success of this partnership underscores the incredible impact that can be achieved when law enforcement and animal welfare groups collaborate,” said Matthew Bershadker, President and Chief Executive Officer of the ASPCA. “We’ve greatly enhanced our ability to not only rescue the city’s animals from cruelty and neglect, but treat them once they come in. The full engagement of the NYPD in enforcing these laws sends a clear signal about the seriousness of animal cruelty and the need to prevent it.”

“We are protecting some of New York City’s most vulnerable residents by enforcing laws against animal cruelty,” said Police Commissioner William J. Bratton. “The NYPD will continue this extremely worthwhile partnership with the ASCPA, and we look forward to our continued success.”

Both organizations have made significant investments in the success of the partnership. The ASPCA increased 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, the Transit 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 also added a treatment ward to its Animal Hospital and announced its intent to open a special ward at 91st Street for ongoing care and rehabilitation of canine cruelty victims later this year.

In June 2014, the NYPD made history by officially forming the Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad (ACIS) which falls under the Special Victims Division of the Detective Bureau. ACIS's members of the service have extensive experience in the care and protection of animals.

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. The ASPCA CIA also regularly works with the NYPD Community Affairs Office on special public events like this year’s Operation Gimme Shelter events in Jamaica, Queens and Staten Island, which provided free dog houses, pet ID tags, dog food, behavioral support and educational materials to community members and their canine companions.

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.