Being an NJSPCA Officer

Any one of our Humane Law Enforcement Officers can tell you how often people express their gratitude for their hard work protecting animals. Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be an “Animal Cop”, what the procedure is, and if you could do it?

The Complaint
Every day our hotline receives numerous complaints regarding potential cases of animal abuse and neglect. The Hotline operators log the calls into our complaint system, which automatically generates a case number and sends out an alert to the appropriate Zone Supervisor. The Supervisor then dispatches that complaint to an Officer, who becomes the lead Investigator for that case.

The Investigation
Now that the complaint is logged, it is the Officer’s job to interview the subject(s) to assess whether there is merit to that complaint. He/she might make calls to Police Officers, Veterinarians, Health Departments and shelters to get more background information on the person(s) in question. It is imperative that detailed notes are taken all through an investigation, including pictures, if applicable. If a violation of an animal cruelty statute has been committed, summonses will be issued and the offender will be brought to court.

The Court Date
When a summons has been issued, the person receiving the violation has the right to plea guilty or not guilty, just as one would to a traffic violation. If they plead guilty, they and the NJSPCA Officer will go in front of the Judge for his ruling. If the defendant would like to plead not guilty, a trial date will be set, which will proceed much like a regular trial, with witnesses and expert testimonies. It is the very important job of the NJSCPA Officer to prepare his or her case by ensuring all reports are clear and concise, pictures are printed, and all appropriate forms are filled out in full.

It takes a person with drive, commitment, and people skills to be a Humane Law Enforcement Officer with the NJSPCA. If you would like to find out more about joining our organization, please download and fill out our application by clicking here.