A Morning Well-Spent With New York’s Finest

Posted by Dana Campbell, ALDF Attorney on March 29, 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.

7 thoughts on “A Morning Well-Spent With New York’s Finest

  1. Rita Wood says:

    As founder of PurrEver Ranch Sanctuary (A Hospice For Senior Kittizens) & the proud mother of a police officer, this story touched me on many levels. Bless you men & women in blue who see the world at its worst and protect us from all that is bad. For you truly are the very best – “The Finest” Thank you for making all our lives safer and the world a better place.

  2. Gail Hall says:

    The answer for these heroes is keep doing what you are doing. Case by case you will make a difference. You are conveying a strong message in reference to love and respect for animals. You are winning, don’t stop now. You are our example…let the world learn from you. And may you walk in saftey and happiness everyday of your life…for this will be my prayer for you.

  3. Ace says:

    That incident about the four kittens broke my heart!! Thank you officer for rescuing them, and even though they died, you ARE their hero!!!!

  4. Jade Hawks says:

    As a rescuer myself (dogs, cats, equines) I can identify with the heartbreak that officer felt! Part of the reason I have 4 dogs and 6 cats at the moment is due to not feeling the people who showed interest in adopting one of the 4 kittens brought to me last Sept, after their wild mother was taken by coyotes when their eyes were barely open – had to raise them on a bottle and numerous feedings through day and night for a bit, was because the people thought they were “darling” at 4-5 weeks and wanted one when older – then would be gone for 2-3 weeks at a time. I pointed out that these were house cats now and couldn’t survive outside – and they had just figured to leave them outside when they were gone! So now at 7 months (and fixed!) they bring joy to my life every day! Don’t give up officers – there are those of us out here that will help stop the insanity! Blessed Be.

  5. April says:

    After just reading the horrific story about the dog that got beaten to death by a fire officer in California, this story was a welcome reminder that not all people who are chosen to serve and protect our safety miss use their power. I thank ALDF for making this lecture possible and hope they choose to do it in other states around the country. The two stories that were told were both heart warming and heart breaking. I know that these stories go on thought out the day across the country and I hope all the kind compassionate officers out there will continue to strive to make this a more compassionate and safe world for humans and animals alike. Thank you to those that make that difference.

  6. Janet says:

    I am not a rescue organization volunteer, I usually work alone or with a network of friends and family in the rescue and homing of whatever abused or abandoned animals God puts in my path. Although there is inevitable heartache in putting yourself out there, there are also immesurable rewards. I have 8 cats and 1 dog, all rescues. Although I am disabled now I still do whatever I can when the need arrives. I am fortunate that my husband is also an animal lover and supports me in my endeavors.
    I have 3 nephews who are all animals lovers and all work in law enforcement. So I too understand that the men in law enforcement are usually good souls who join to serve and protect not just people but animals too.

  7. Reagan says:


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