Legal Advocacy & Investigations

The ASPCA’s Legal Advocacy & Investigations department provides investigative and legal assistance to law enforcement and prosecutors pursuing animal cruelty and animal fighting cases nationwide, with dedicated legal support for the New York City Police Department and District Attorney’s Offices handling these cases in New York City.

The department’s experts in the issues of animal cruelty and animal fighting support and consult at all stages of criminal investigations and prosecutions, including identifying potential cruelty situations, providing evidence collection and analysis, and serving as expert witnesses at hearings and trials in state and federal courts. Our team, including former prosecutors and criminal defense attorneys, provides a range of legal support, such as guidance on relevant animal cruelty laws and procedures as well as assisting with hearings, trial and legal documents.

The department also connects law enforcement and prosecutors to other resources integral to the success of animal cruelty cases, including experts in forensics and animal behavior. In addition to case work, the team regularly provides training to animal control agencies, law enforcement, prosecutors, veterinarians and other animal welfare professionals.

The department’s civil litigation team litigates suits in state and federal courts and participates as amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) in cases with the potential to significantly improve legal protections for animals. As the ASPCA’s Legislative Counsel, the department also provides legal analysis and drafting expertise on local, state and federal bills and regulations in order to further ensure protections for animals under the law.

Through its Puppy Mill Initiative, the department provides subject matter expertise on issues impacting commercially bred dogs and works to decrease the demand for cruelly bred dogs through public education and campaigns.