NYPD precincts to receive pet microchip scanners to help fight animal cruelty

The new scanner can read a unique serial number stored on a microchip to retrieve data about the pet's owner

By Laura Dimon
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — A new initiative to equip every precinct in the city with pet microchip scanners is aiming to give cops the “practical tools” to bring abusive pet owners to justice.

The ASPCA, which has partnered with the NYPD for five years and funded the effort, announced its ambitious expansion Monday.

The new scanner can read a unique serial number stored on a microchip — a small device implanted under the skin in most cats and dogs — to retrieve data about the pet's owner.

In one infamous example, the scanner helped crack a 2016 cruelty case involving a pit bull that had been stuffed in a suitcase and left in a Lower East Side dumpster — revealing microchip data that led cops to the man responsible for the abuse.

More than 250 police officers attended a microchip instruction session at a Saturday seminar at the Police Academy in College Point, Queens. The ASPCA reports that more than 2,500 officers have now completed an animal cruelty investigations seminar since the NYPD partnered with the organization in 2014.

"In collaboration with Captain Mark Gaudioso from the NYPD Patrol Services Bureau, it became apparent that we could assist the animal cruelty victims with the tool of pet microchip scanners at every precinct and Police Service Area in New York City," Deputy Chief Luongo, Commanding Officer of the Special Investigation Division, said in a statement. "With the animal cruelty training and widespread use of these devices we will be able to accelerate the process of finding owners to assist in our investigations."

Matt Bershadker, president and CEO of the ASPCA, said he was "inspired by (the NYPD's) enthusiasm to use every means available to stop cruelty, rescue victimized animals, and bring animal abusers to justice."

"Effectively fighting animal cruelty means equipping law enforcement officers with practical tools as well as comprehensive training, and these scanners will certainly accelerate the process of finding owners and clearing cases," he added.

©2018 New York Daily News

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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