Early in 2014 I was interviewed by The New York Times and the New York Post about my opinion on the ASPCA transferring humane law enforcement duties to the New York City Police Department (see ASPCA cedes lead role in New York City humane law enforcement to police.) I told both reporters that “Sometimes one must go what appears to be a step backward in order to go two steps forward.”
I also told the reporters that I once met with police commissioner William Bratton, who returned to head the NYPD on January 1, 2014, after previously heading the NYPD under former mayor Rudy Giuliani, and that he had supported legislation I had authored to create new borough-wide SPCAs in NYC to help the ASPCA concentrate on humane law services and give up animal control duties.
Having the police investigating and making arrests for crimes against animals, rather than a charity, would elevate animal crimes and neglect to essentially as important a matter in society as human crimes and neglect.
Commissioner Bratton on January 30, 2014 issued a memo to all NYPD precincts reminding them that they must investigate every credible animal abuse and neglect report. That evening I had occasion to call the 83rd Precinct to report a case of severe neglect of an injured dog. The desk sergeant said that he would assign an officer to visit the dog the following morning.
Overnight the world has changed for animals. If the NYPD and commissioner Bratton make this work, having police do humane law enforcement will spread to other cities, just as many have adopted the approaches to fighting crimes against humans that Bratton introduced during his previous tenure as commissioner.
–Garo Alexanian, founder, Companion Animal Network
P.O. Box 656712, Fresh Meadows, NY 11365