Since the NYPD took over enforcement duties from the ASPCA earlier this year, the number of animal cruelty cases handled by the agency's forensic sciences department has tripled. "We had 17 agents, they have 35,000 uniformed officers," says Dr. Robert Reisman, the supervisor of forensic sciences at the ASPCA Animal Hospital. "They have the manpower, they're out there every day. They know what's going on in their neighborhoods."

Dr. Reisman, who has worked as a vet for the ASPCA for 20 years, says his office at the animal hospital on East 92nd Street receives an average of one complaint a day. He is charged with collecting evidence that can be used in court against abusers; he weighs the animals, catalogues signs of neglect, and takes x-rays and photographs.

"We operate to some extent as an expert witness," Dr. Reisman says. "It's very powerful evidence."

The ASPCA was outside Washington Square Park yesterday to show off its mobile Animal Crime Scene Investigation Unit, which is used to collect evidence in larger cases, like dogfighting rings or the biggest cockfighting bust in New York history.

Dr. Reisman strongly disagreed with critics who claimed that animal abuse wouldn't be taken seriously once the NYPD took over. "Completely untrue. They're the experts at law enforcement, we're the experts with animals. They're doing an amazing job investigating these cases."

While the ASPCA collects evidence, it also works to rehabilitate the abused animals, physically and behaviorally. "We do really well on that," Dr. Reisman says, noting that more than three quarters of the animals his office sees for abuse cases become available for adoption.

Two of those animals were at yesterday's demo: Dutchess and Brie, both rescue pit bulls.

"There's been a tremendous evolution over the years," Dr. Reisman said. "Pets are truly a part of society now, they're companions—for some people the most important companion they have. Crimes against them are treated like any other crime, which is how it should be."

You can see the ASPCA's CSI unit and visit with adoptable animals tomorrow between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. outside Madison Square Park on 5th Avenue between East 24th and 25th Streets.