A Morning Well-Spent With New York's FinestPosted by Dana Campbell, ALDF Attorney on March 29th, 2010
Don’t be fooled, those hard-boiled NYPD cops are pussycats with hearts of gold, at least the ones were that I met a few weeks ago while doing a presentation on animal cruelty at the New York City Police Department’s Training Academy in Manhattan. As the story was told to me, NYPD Commissioner Kelly took ALDF up on its offer of free training after receiving several of our letters also offering our expertise on some of their uglier pending animal cruelty cases, and ordered his training commanders to set it up. As (bad) luck would have it, the date selected turned out to be in the middle of the worst snow storm of the season. My flight there from Rochester the afternoon prior to the training was canceled, but I was determined not to let this opportunity to reach out to such an important audience pass by, so I boarded a train for a 10-hour(!) ride into the City. (Is there anyone out there still questioning the need for high-speed trains? If so, see me.)
While the snowstorm did affect attendance somewhat, we still ended up with about 150 training commanders (out of an expected 200 or so) who appeared hungry for the information and asked great questions that indicated they were fully engaged. I spoke to them about the link between human and animal violence, New York’s animal cruelty laws, and who to call and how to handle being first responders when coming across an abused animal. The best part is that each of these officers are now spread out across the five boroughs, bringing ALDF’s training to each and every member of each and every precinct there.
Perhaps the best part, for me, was that after I finished, a good number of officers crowded around me to ask more questions but mostly, to relate their heartwarming, and sometimes heartbreaking, stories of their animal cases.
One officer with a heavy Russian-sounding accent related how she arrived on the scene to rescue a neglected dog with a chain imbedded in her neck, only to be attacked by the scared dog as she approached. The officer got help neutralizing the dog, who was treated by a vet, and ended up going home with the officer! Now, three years later, the dog is beautiful with no sign of the neglect. I know this because the officer proudly showed me her current photos of the sweet dog.
Another officer, who looked and sounded like he stepped right out of an episode of The Sopranos, shared his anguish at turning himself nearly inside out getting four tiny adorable kittens unstuck from a gutter, only to see them euthanized at the overcrowded shelter days later. This tough guy’s eyes teared up as he talked to me about this.
I wish I had better answers for all of the officers who lamented this population control/overcrowding issue. However, I now hold out great hope that animals in trouble in the Big Apple who do cross paths with NYPD will be just fine.