In addition to manning the city's emergency call centers, the NYPD has been given another new task: handling calls about animal abuse.
As part of a collaboration with the ASPCA, police will now respond to animal cruelty complaints reported in the city, which, according to a statement, will enable the ASPCA to focus on strengthening its treatment and housing placement programs, among other things.
The partnership will launch in September with a pilot program in the Bronx, and will expand to the rest of the city in early 2014.
But officers are less than thrilled by the addition of yet another responsibility.
"We're limited in resources as it is," one police source said, adding that the department already faces a daily battle responding to human-based emergencies quickly. "Now it's going to be a situation where we have even more cases and calls to respond to."
He added that the NYPD will have to expend time and money to train officers to handle animal complaints.
"Training as it is, is already tough," the source said. "We have so many officers that need to be trained—now you're adding another element of taking guys off patrol. You can't go out there and handle animal cruelty cases without training."
ASPCA brass, however, are relieved that animal cases will be taken off the organization's hands. Matthew Bershadker, the organization's president and chief executive, told the Times that the police are “equipped to do what the ASPCA simply cannot accomplish alone: incorporate enforcement of animal cruelty laws into routine, everyday law enforcement work.”
Bershadker's enthusiasm is not shared by the cops—the ones who, soon enough, will be tasked with handling the cases.
"This is not a win-win— the ASPCA is fine the way they are," our source said. "If something's not broke, don't fix it."