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ASPCA to hand over cruelty law enforcement duties to NYPD

ASPCA van in New York City.
ASPCA van in New York City.
Flickr

While some animal advocates are worried that the police department will not give animal abuse cases priority due to its heavy caseload regarding “human-on-human crimes,” others recognize that the ASPCA simply lacks the resources to do the job.

“You’re talking about 21 people or so trying to handle tens of thousands of calls to its hotline each year,” noted Garo Alexanian, founder of the Companion Animal Network rescue group,” who has lauded the ASPCA’s decision to shift enforcement to the New York City Police Department

In fact, out of the tens of thousands of calls made to the agency’s hotline, only 4,000 are investigated annually, resulting in an average of only one arrest per week.

It should also be noted that a pilot program involving more police involvement has already been in effect in the Bronx since September.

“During the past four months, the NYPD has responded in a positive way that illustrates how their size and scope will allow them to enforce animal cruelty laws across New York City better than we could do on our own,” exclaimed ASPCA spokeswoman Emily Schneider.

Founded in 1866, by Henry Bergh, who convinced state lawmakers to enact the country’s first animal cruelty laws (as well as grant his organization never before powers to enforce them), the ASPCA’s earliest cases were primarily concerned with protecting horses, before expanding to cover all animals both domestic and feral.