FIRST ON PIX: NYC pets and other animals in danger as ASPCA investigations slowed by top officials

NEW YORK (PIX11) – Dogs, cats and other animals are suffering and even dying needlessly all over New York CIty, and the culprit behind their hurt, according to PIX11 News sources, is the management of an organization that’s supposed to be helping animals.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reported receiving $122 million in donations last year in its cause to prevent animal cruelty, but some whistleblowers told PIX11 News that the ASPCA is preventing its own animal cruelty investigators from doing their jobs.

The 146 year-old organization has its own law enforcement division, called ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement, or HLE.  Many of its 14 armed officers are NYPD retirees who, after a full 20-year distinguished career in the police force, pursue their passion for helping animals by joining HLE.  They spend 10-hour days, seven days a week, investigating thousands of calls per year of cruelty to animals.

However, changes in HLE management in recent years have reduced investigators’ ability to fully pursue cases of abuse, according to PIX11 News sources, and the result, they say, has put many animals’ health in danger, and even cost some animals their lives.

Fatal Consequences

An HLE case file obtained by PIX11 News features some very disturbing images.  They are about a half dozen photographs that a responding HLE investigator was required to take of a pit bull mix that was so severely emaciated and badly neglected that it died.  The case file clearly points out in its narrative, “This case is 2 weeks old,” too long after the ASPCA received an anonymous  complaint about the starved dog for HLE officers to step in and save the dog’s life.

The cause of the delay in responding, according to sources familiar with HLE policies, is that the HLE’s overall caseload is severely backlogged.  PIX11 obtained a photograph reportedly taken inside HLE’s operations center of printed-out animal cruelty complaint files for cases that have not yet been investigated.  Sources tell PIX11 News that at the end of a typical calendar year, the number of uninvestigated complaints is under 30.

The photo of this year’s uninvestigated case files, however, shows five stacks of papers, hundreds of files deep.  In fact, PIX11 also received a copy of a complaint letter addressed to the chief operating officer of the ASPCA from the Spay Neuter Intervention Project, or SNIP, a separate organization that works closely with the ASPCA.  The SNIP letter not only estimates the number of backlogged cases to be 900, it also says “Humane Law Enforcement, the foundation and core of the ASPCA, has crumbled,” and goes on to say that “allegations of incompetence” against the directors of HLE “are rampant.”

Emaciated dog

Sources say this emaciated dog died before ASPCA investigators could respond to a complaint of the dog being abused.

PIX11 went to HLE’s operations center in Glendale, Queens in search of the director of the division, Howard Lawrence, in order to hear from him what had caused the backlog of cases.   A staff member at the center said that Lawrence was not in the office at the time.

However, other ASPCA documents obtained by PIX11 News show that in February 2011, HLE created a policy of limiting the daily  number of cases its investigators could pursue to five, even if investigative officers had time to do more than the new daily limit.  Sources say that prior to the new policy being implemented, the number of cases that each of HLE’s 14 officers would investigate daily was at least seven on average, and that ten cases per day was not uncommon.

Couple that with the fact that attrition has reduced the number of HLE officers to 14 from 22 as recently as 2008, and you have a plummet in the number of cases the HLE Force can investigate.  Potentially, the reduction is by as much as 50%.  The result is cases like that of the pit bull mix found dead two weeks after a concerned citizen called the ASPCA.

That case is by no means isolated.  PIX11 also obtained other case reports in which dogs were dead by the time investigators were finally given the case files for the called-in complaints.  In one case, the investigator wasn’t able to respond to the complaint until seven days after it was called in. In another, the complaint wasn’t followed up for two-and-a-half months.

When HLE Director Howard Lawrence was unavailable, his office referred PIX11 to the ASPCA’s media office for comment.  It issued a statement at the end of the business day Wednesday regarding the months-long backlog of cases, which said, in part, “This is an inaccurate representation.  While it is not unusual for law enforcement agencies to have cases in the queue, case count is not an indicator of actual animals suffering.  We handle thousands of cruelty complaints every year, and cases are prioritized by the gravity of the complaint.  In keeping with our mission to end animal suffering, we are constantly looking at ways to expand our reach.”

63 comments

  • DR J STONE

    TIME AMERICA WOKE UP AND TOOK BACK THE COUNTRY BECAUSE LITTLE WORKS ANYMORE MY ADVICE IS TO HAVE TRAINED PEOPLE WHO CAN INFORCE THE LAW THEMSELVES IF ONE CAN MAKE A CITIZENS ARREST THEY ONE CAN LEARN HOW TO GO AFTER ANIMAL ABUSERS

  • DR J STONE

    THIS COUNTRY IS SO FULL OF SICK PEOPLE THAT ONE SHOULD REQUIRE A MENTAL TEST TO HAVE A PET SO UNLIKE CIVILIZED COUNTRIES WHERE NO ANIMAL IS BORN UNLESS A HOME IS WAITING FOR IT AND BIRTH CONTROL ANIMAL FOOD IS USED IN SEVERAL THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES BUT A COUNTRY SO RICH WITH SUCH BACKWARD LAWS IS SHAMEFULL, STOP DEPENDING ON OTHERS TODAY FORCE JUSTICE IN ORGANIZATION GROUPS WORKS. ONE ISSUE AT A TIME BECAUSE THIER ARE NOT ENOUGHT SPACE AND JAILS TODAY TO HOLD AMERICA CRIMINALLS

  • lucyhoneychurch

    The ASPCA, NYC Animal Control, PETA, and The Humane Society of the United States are not worthy of their mandates. They kill, abuse, and cause the vast majority of pet suffering in this country while collecting HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS per YEAR under the guise of protecting pets.

    The money is spent on lavish fundraisers, more buildings, staff salaries, advertising, administrative and operational expenses, and very LITTLE (<10%) is actually spent on any animals in their care. It's a HUGE boondoggle, and the country's pets are the ones who suffer horribly as a result of these massive Soviet-style beaurocracies that accomplish nothing but more endless fundraising.

    NEVER donate to any of these organizations, NEVER bring your pet to a 'shelter'.

    If you really want to make a difference, please ALWAYS donate to the small, local, volunteer-run no-kill rescue organizations. They are the only ones with boots on the ground actually CARING for animals.

  • CA Girl 2013

    part of the reason they are back logged is due to false complaints of neglect and abuse on the NYC carriage horses. These cases are a priority, yet 100% of them have been false complaints with no issues found. If the animal rights activists actually cared about animals, they would stop making bogus complaints against healthy, well taken care of horses!

  • Daria Aumand

    I wonder if the ASPCA's major contibuters are aware of their failure to prevent cruelty. It is also interesting to see the salaries of some of the management, including their lawyers. It's disgusting. Less and less seems to spent on the animals and their protection. The Humane Enforcement Officers are the ones who make a difference, not the management.

  • strona budowanie

    �. Związane grabie Przywabiająca budowa.
    uniosła do twarzy, stron budowanie zasłaniając usta.

    Bęc krokodylka. Ciałko kurczy się, podczas gdy dalece pozwala
    ciasno oplatająca ciacha
    wstążka. Trach.
    . jeszcze nie.
    Raźne pogląd, poprzednio faktyczność zatonie w bólu, natomiast płuca pękną odkąd krzyku.
    Ich
    oczy się spotkały. Frodo puder odczucie, że zwariował, że przed jeszcze jego
    biednego fiuta schwyciły zęby krokodylka, startuje mie.

  • myartsonline.com

    lne interesy. Razu jednego Warta usługi dźwigowe.
    wmawiał samemu, że owe kant.
    Frodo budowa (myartsonline.com) syknął z bólu.
    Pokonał zbyt wiele ziemi, chciał napełnić jeszcze pobieżne
    wyżłobienie, które stanęło w czasie udeptywania.
    Jednak ponaciągane mięśnie odmówiły
    posłuszeństwa, trzonek skręcił się w dłoniach.
    Niziołek odrzucił łopatę, zaczął
    rozcierać przedramię.
    – Co oczywiście stoisz! – warknął. – Co, zatkało? Mi.

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