ASPCA and NYPD Celebrate Five Years of Fighting Animal Abuse and Rescuing Victims across New York City

January 29, 2019

This year, the ASPCA is marking the five-year anniversary of our ground-breaking partnership with the New York City Police Department (NYPD). The collaboration launched citywide in January 2014 with the NYPD taking the lead role in responding to all animal cruelty complaints in the five boroughs, and the ASPCA providing direct care for animal victims, as well as law enforcement training and veterinary forensic and legal support. 

This unique partnership has made strong and measurable progress for New York City’s abused and neglected animals, with the NYPD making nearly 700 arrests in the last five years and the ASPCA treating more than 3,300 victims of alleged animal cruelty.

Jamie the pitbull with the NYPD

Over the years, rescued animals have come from a variety of dangerous environments throughout the city, including scenes of organized dogfighting, criminal hoarding, domestic disputes, and criminal neglect. When brought into our care, we medically treat and, when necessary, rehabilitate these innocent victims and help them find safe and loving homes. Many of these second chances would not have been possible without the support of the NYPD and the officers who remain dedicated to ending animal abuse. 

Meaningful Rescues

Of those officers are people like Officer Michael Pascale, who, on a chilly, rainy December day, spotted a shivering dog tied tightly to a fence in Brooklyn. 

an abandoned dog chained to a fence

“The dog was freezing, shaking and crying, tethered to the fence with a thick chain and a rope so short he was forced to sit in a puddle,” recalls Officer Pascale. “When I saw him, I thought to myself, ‘Who could do this?’ Then I said to myself, ‘I have to help.’ I jumped out before the patrol car even stopped. I knew I had to get him out of there.”

Freeing the 11-month-old pit bull-mix proved to be an emotional moment for the officer, who felt bonded to the dog immediately. After taking him to receive necessary care, Officer Pascale couldn’t get the dog out of his mind, and on January 22, the once-neglected dog, now known as Joe, was officially adopted by his savior.

Officer Pascale and Joe

Joe heads home with his new pet parent, Officer Pascale. 

“I knew I wanted to give Joe the love and warmth and support he needs,” Officer Pascale says. “I think adopting is a way to give back, and these animals deserve it.”                                                                                                                  

“In the past five years, the ASPCA/NYPD Partnership has had a tremendous impact on the lives of victimized animals, the arrest and successful prosecution of animal abusers, and the treatment and prioritization of at-risk animals in communities across the city,” said Matt Bershadker, President and CEO of the ASPCA. “As our collaboration continues toward the goal of a safer and even more compassionate city for animals, I remain thankful to Commissioner O’Neill and the NYPD, to New York City’s district attorneys, and to local residents and advocates for their commitment to saving lives in every borough.”

Law Enforcement Training and Support

In addition to the rescue and direct care of victimized animals, we provide support for the more than 35,000 uniformed NYPD officers responding to animal cruelty calls. In addition to a 24-hour hotline for immediate assistance, more than 14,000 NYPD officers and leadership have participated in ASPCA trainings in the last five years. We’ve also provided each precinct with a pet microchip scanner and funded a fully equipped mobile command post to aid the NYPD Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad in responding to large-scale animal abuse cases in the city. 

a young dog being held by NYPD officer

In addition, the ASPCA’s veterinary forensic team provides crucial evidence analysis and expert testimony, while the legal advocacy team pursues security postings and serves as a resource for the NYPD and city’s prosecutors as they pursue cases.   

“The NYPD is honored to work in close partnership with the ASPCA each day to help some of our city’s most vulnerable victims – abused or neglected animals,” said NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill. “Animal cruelty is often linked to other serious crimes against people, including domestic violence. And so, by assisting animals in our neighborhoods, together we’re making our nation’s safest large city even safer.”

Collaborating in Communities

As a complement to its partnership with the NYPD, the ASPCA Community Engagement program works round-the-clock with the NYPD and other city agencies to support pet owners in need by arranging veterinary care and providing pet supplies as well as addressing cases of hoarding and neglect. 

Orson with NYPD officers

“The NYPD has not just been our partner in helping stop animal abuse but also identifying pet owners in need through their work in the community,” said Howard Lawrence, Vice President, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement. “Sometimes even the simplest service, like food or grooming, can mean the difference between an animal ending up in a shelter or staying in a home with a loving owner.” 

As we celebrate the successes of the past five years, we also look toward a brighter future for New York City’s animals, more happy endings and a continued collaboration with our allies at the NYPD. For all that they have helped us accomplish, we are immensely grateful. 

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.