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NYPD Takes Over for ASPCA in Animal Cruelty Cases

Julian Omidi examines the transition and benefits of legal forces becoming involved with cases of animal abuse in New York City. 

Until recently, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has been responsible for responding to reports of animal cruelty in New York City.  However, it was announced that the calls of animal abuse will now be handled by the New York Police Department directly, taking much of the responsibility off of the shoulders of the overburdened private nonprofit organization.

Instead of relying on officials from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) to handle calls of animal neglect and abuse, the New York Police Department announced that it would be handling all animal abuse calls directly with the assistance of the ASPCA.  This new directive will speed up the response time considerably, since the NYPD must clear all of their calls within eight hours, while the ASPCA is so understaffed and underfunded that they often can’t respond to complaints for days or even weeks. [1]

The ASPCA has been providing public services while being considered a private organization.  Unlike city services, the ASPCA doesn’t receive government funding; it exists purely on donations, and yet it is expected to intervene in public matters.  Now that the NYPD is directly involved, there will be thorough investigations of all cruelty calls.

The ASPCA in New York has only 17 officials dedicated to working on incoming animal abuse and neglect complaints, which number approximately 4,000 per year in New York.  While they have been given the local authority to respond to calls, they do not have the authority to make arrests, or to intervene in any other existing illegal conditions, such as possible dogfighting.

Making the NYPD the go-to agency for animal abuse and neglect complaints will likely go far in thwarting not only animal cruelty, but also other criminal activity, since animal abuse and domestic violence often go hand in hand.  The fact that there will be a record made of animal abuse complaints directly with the NYPD should help authorities keep track of people who might become dangers to their communities in other ways.

The ASPCA will act as supplementary officials to the NYPD, offering treatment and rescue for the animals that have been reported abused.  The ASPCA will also provide forensic investigative services to animal cruelty complaints.

The ASPCA was the flagship animal welfare organization in the United States.  It was founded in 1866 by Henry Bergh for the purpose of protecting cart horses from abuse and transforming dog pounds into pet adoption centers.  Since its inception, the ACPCA has succeeded in rescuing and providing care for millions of animals, as well as lobbying for animal welfare legislation.

Animal Support sincerely hopes that the direct intervention of the NYPD will result in the lessening of animal cruelty across the city; if people realize that animal abuse will result in a swift legal response, then hopefully animal abusers will be discouraged from even owning pets.


[1] Barron, James: Animal Abuse Calls Will Now Go to Police New York Times 8/21/2013 http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/22/nyregion/animal-abuse-calls-will-now-go-to-police.html?_r=0&pagewanted=print
nypd and aspca

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