NYPD's Involvement Hikes Arrests for Animal Cruelty

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The decision by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to give up some of its duties has turned out to be a good thing for animals, at least according to statistics the animal welfare group compiled from police reports.

Since the New York Police Department took the lead role in responding to animal abuse cases in January, the number of animal rescues and arrests for cruelty have actually gone up. 

The president and chief executive officer of the ASPCA, Matt Bershadker, said his organization had willingly handed over the responsibilities, though critics had worried police would give animal abuse complaints lower priority.

"Animal crimes are serious crimes, and they are worthy of the full force of the New York City police department," he said. "They are worthy of the full force of the public resources that are dedicated to preventing and responding to criminality."

Nearly 200 animal rescues and 70 arrests took place in the first six months of this year — more than twice the number in each category over the same period last year, according to the animal welfare group.

The ASPCA was the lead enforcement agency for animal abuse for nearly 150 years. But Bershadker said now police can focus more on the law and order, and the ASPCA can focus more energy on caring for abused animals. He said the organization has revamped its hospital, and hired additional forensic staff. 

With the Associated Press