ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Division
|ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Division|
|Common name||ASPCA enforcement|
|Legal personality||Governmental: Government agency|
|Operations jurisdiction*||City of New York in the state of New York, USA|
|Legal jurisdiction||New York|
|Parent agency||American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals|
|ASPCA Official Site|
|* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.|
The ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Division (colloquially, "ASPCA Enforcement") is the law enforcement arm of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). The agency enforces animal related laws, and investigates cases of animal cruelty.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was incorporated in 1866 by a special state legislation to prevent animal cruelty through various programs including animal adoption services, animal education programs and an armed law enforcement division.
The Humane Law Enforcement Division is a branch of the ASPCA staffed by 20 armed New York State peace officers who respond to reports of animal cruelty in marked ASPCA patrol cars in the New York City area as well as perform undercover operations. The officers are empowered through NYS Criminal Procedure Law and NY Agriculture and Markets laws to investigate allegations of animal abuse, seize animals being abused, and make arrests for the prosecution for animal cruelty.
In 2000, the ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Division received 33,000 calls for service which resulted in 55 arrests, 30 summons being issued, and 537 animal seizures.
Power and Authority of ASPCA Law Enforcement Officers
- ASPCA law enforcement officers are New York State peace officers under NYS Criminal Procedure Law 2.10 and may make arrests, use physical and deadly force, make car stops, issue summonses, and may carry a firearms with the approval of NYPD pistol license section, batons, pepper spray, and handcuffs.
- ASPCA Law Enforcement officers may seize any stray or abandoned animal on public streets in accordance with N.Y. Agriculture & Market laws Section 373 subsection 1.
- ASPCA Law Enforcement officers may lawfully seize any animal on private property that has been kept for more than 12 hours in an unhealthy, dangerous or unsanitary condition in accordance with NY Agriculture and Markets Law Section 373 subsection 2 provided a complaint has been filed.
- ASPCA Law Enforcement officers with a court order may make regular visits to any residence or establishment where an animal is being kept to check to see if the animal is receiving necessary food, water and care according to N.Y. Agriculture & Market law Section 373 subsection 7.
- NYS Agriculture and Markets Law Section 371 permits an ASPCA Law Enforcement officer to "interfere to prevent the perpetration of any act of cruelty upon any animal" in the presence of the ASPCA officer.
Crime Scene Investigation
In 2007, the ASPCA created an animal cruelty crime scene investigation unit. The CSI unit uses a Ford E-450 vehicle equipped with a surgery area for injured animals, evidence processing, documentation, and storage equipment. The van is staffed with a forensic veterinarian to help document evidence to aid in the prosecution of perpetrators. Although the vehicle is used primarily in New York City, it can be deployed to any area of the United States at the request of a law enforcement agency.
Law Enforcement Training
ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement officers receive peace officer training in addition to investigator training and firearms training. In 1999, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement recruits began attending a specialized investigator training course through the New York City Police academy.
ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement officers are equipped with either a Glock 19 9mm or a Smith and Wesson 5906 9mm handgun, pepper spray, ASP baton, and handcuffs.
They carry poles and cages for seizures and catches.
Rank Structure & Title
There are five titles (referred to as ranks) in the ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement Division:
- Assistant Director of Law Enforcement
- Executive Officer
- Supervisory Special Investigator
- Special Investigator
- Special Agent
- American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
- Law enforcement in New York City
- List of law enforcement agencies in New York
- List of Long Island law enforcement agencies
- New York City Police Department
- Animal Precinct - Animal Planet's documentary reality television series that follows the agents, including agent Tina Salaks, of the ASPCA's Humane Law Enforcement Division in their investigations of animal cruelty.