Animal Cruelty Task Force

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Public awareness of issues related to climate change and animal cruelty has increased and has led to a broader understanding that safety at home, at work, and on the street is connected to social and racial justice. Promoting the humane treatment of animals and holding accountable individuals & corporations that commit these crimes of power must be a priority of the Manhattan District Attorney. For the past decade, It hasn’t been a priority.

Animal protection enforcement must be included in the path to social justice. Animal protection enforcement should be a priority for the authorities not only because it is the law but because animal cruelty has direct correlations with other crimes of power such as domestic violence, child abuse, and other violent crimes. When we hold those accountable who commit Crimes of Power, whether, against a person, an animal, or the environment, we are all better for it.

Diana plans to:

  • Create a first-of-its-kind Animal Cruelty Task Force, which will criminally investigate cases of animal cruelty. It will be modeled on the successful multi-agency Construction Fraud Task Force created and led by Diana, which investigated industry-wide fraud and every construction-worker death and serious injury in Manhattan.
  • The Animal Cruelty Task Force will be adequately staffed with multiple attorneys, investigators, analysts, and community liaisons, who will focus on investigating animal abuse and cruelty-related crimes, including animal trafficking, trafficking of banned animal by-products, dogfighting, and the illegal sale of puppies bred in mills.
  • The Task Force will proactively work side by side with advocates and the community to proactively investigate cases and ensure that their role in the disposition of their case is meaningful, not an afterthought.
  • Diana will prioritize proactive investigations into institutions who profit from the inhumane treatment of animals when the practices cross the line into criminality. Because she is the only candidate with experience prosecuting wide-reaching crimes of power, such as fraud and racketeering cases that are multi-jurisdictional, she is best suited to tackle these complex investigations committed by corporations or powerful individuals.
  • Diana will appoint an animal rights advocate to direct the work of the Animal Cruelty Task Force. The ADA in charge will be responsible for working side by side with community organizations like VFAR, the ASPCA, and government agencies like the NYPD Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad who will make direct referrals for cases to be investigated.
  • Diana believes the primary focus of criminal dispositions should be accountability, not incarceration. The Animal Cruelty Task Force will offer alternatives to incarceration. The Animal Cruelty Task Force will partner with advocates and community organizations to develop restorative justice alternatives that require the offender to participate in programs with animal rescue organizations.
  • The Task Force will publish and release yearly reports that detail how many cases are investigated by the Task Force, how many results in charges, types of dispositions, and sentencing. It will share its findings in meetings with animal advocates and the NYPD Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad (ACIS). This sharing of information will aid the government agencies and community organizations in studying patterns and improve future investigations and further develop models for prevention.