The New York Police Department is teaming up with advocates to offer increased protection for city animals.
Under a new agreement with the ASPCA, the NYPD will begin to take the lead role responding to all animal cruelty complaints.
The agreement allows the ASPCA to dedicate its time and services to increased forensics and direct care services for animal cruelty victims.
Officials say the partnership is groundbreaking.
"To the best of my knowledge, no partnership like this has ever been conceived of or implemented before across this country," said. ASPCA President Matthew Bershadker. "This partnership is really something that probably wouldn't have even been possible even five years ago. What we've seen with animal protection is we've seen it become a top-tier issue, a top tier cause for people, and the NYPD and the City of New York have recognized that. They've recognized that New York City wants the full resources of its traditional expert law enforcement team brought to bare against animal abusers."
The partnership officially launches next month in the Bronx and will be in effect citywide by early 2014.