ASPCA says microchip scanners help cops solve cases
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and NYPD, who have been working together on a project called the ASPCA/NYPD Partnership for nearly five years, have entered a new phase in their relationship.
ASPCA and NYPD are now concentrating on getting microchip scanners into every police precinct in the city.
The scanners could help locate lost animals that have had microchips implanted in them, according to experts, who said the scanning devices could also be useful in tracking down on criminals, experts said.
On Feb. 10, more than 250 cops took part a demonstration at the Police Academy in College Point, Queens, to show how microchip scanners work.
Microchips are identification devices that are approximately the size of a grain of rice and are most commonly impacted in dogs and cats. Each microchip lists a serial number that can be read by a scanner and matched to a database containing the name of the animal’s owner.
But the scanners have other possible uses, too, ASPCA officials said. For example, the scanners can quickly reveal information on an animal’s owner in cases where cops are investigating suspected cases of animal cruelty and need the data in a timely fashion.
Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of ASPCA, said the microchip scanner project is the appropriate next step in the ASPCA/NYPD Partnership.
“Effectively fighting animal cruelty means equipping law enforcement officers with practical tools as well as comprehensive training, and these scanners will certainly accelerate the process of finding owners and clearing cases. As we enter the fifth year of our partnership with the NYPD, I’m inspired by their enthusiasm to use every means available to stop cruelty, rescue victimized animals, and bring animal abusers to justice,” Bershadker said in a statement.
The seminar at the Police Academy was one of several such training sessions ASPCA and NYPD conduct throughout the year. The sessions often focus on NYPD animal cruelty investigation procedures, animal cruelty laws, forensic investigations and ASPCA’s Community Engagement program.
To date, more than 2,500 cops have taken part in seminars conducted under the ASPCA/NYPD Partnership. The program has saved an estimated 2,500 animals.
The work of the ASPCA/NYPD Partnership is divided up this way: NYPD takes the lead role in responding to all animal cruelty complaints in New York City, while ASPCA cares for the victims and provides training, veterinary forensic services and legal support for NYPD.
Dep. Chief James Luongo, commanding officer of the NYPD’s Special Investigation Division, said the scanners will come in handy.
“In collaboration with Capt. Mark Gaudioso from the NYPD Patrol Services Bureau, it became apparent that we could assist the animal cruelty victims with the tool of pet microchip scanners at every precinct and police service area in New York City. With the animal cruelty training and widespread use of these devices we will be able to accelerate the process of finding owners to assist in our investigations,” Luongo said.
To report cases of suspected animal cruelty, call 311. Call 911 to report a crime in progress.
For more information on the ASPCA, visit www.ASPCA.org.