A data-tracking system similar to CompStat is being devised for animal-abuse investigators — to spot trends so authorities can better combat them, The Post has learned.
A former NYPD captain and lieutenant along with a former Bronx prosecutor are creating the cutting-edge database system for the ASPCA.
“The more we’re able to learn about animal cruelty and neglect, the better we’ll be able to fight it,” said Howard Lawrence, a retired cop who is now a senior director at the ASPCA.
The database will help the NYPD look for animal-cruelty hot spots, as well as for larger, citywide animal-abuse patterns so that authorities know where to concentrate their resources and educational initiatives.
The system also should help law enforcement spot trends between domestic violence and animal attacks, since they often overlap. For instance, in one Bronx case, cops responded to a complaint about two neglected dogs and discovered four abused children.
The plan of attack will be boosted by two animal doctors who work in a new field called veterinary forensics. The vets will be able to help determine whether the health of an animal has been harmed by the act of a person — such as blunt-force trauma — or neglect, such as starvation.
Their work ranges from examining animals who have been shot — performing necropsies to remove the bullet as evidence — to using toxicology on a cat’s liver to see if it was poisoned.
In one case last year, forensic veterinarians submitted the skin of a cat beaten and set on fire to an NYPD crime lab and discovered an accelerant had been used, indicating arson.
Forensic veterinarians also examine malnourished animals to see if they are suffering from an underlying medical condition or if they have been abused. They collect evidence that law enforcement can use to prosecute suspects for crimes against animals, and testify in court.
In one instance, the DNA of the pet of a Bronx dog-fighting suspect was collected and used to connect him to a dog-fighting pit in an apartment building’s windowless basement. Without it, officials say, it’s unlikely he would have been tied to the case, which involved almost 50 dogs being kept in crude wooden cages.
An animal-abuse charge can help cops and prosecutors hit suspects with steeper charges — such as felony animal cruelty if a person abusing his girlfriend also kills her dog.
“It’s been good in many cases to add those charges to the prosecution,” said Dr. Robert Reisman, who supervises forensics at the ASPCA.
Busting a creep attacking cats or dogs can also stop him before more deadly crimes are committed, he added.
The field is so new that there are less than a handful of forensic veterinarians in the country– and veterinarians students are flocking to New York City from all parts of the country to learn from them.
The Post originally reported how the NYPD and ASPCA rescued almost 400 cats and dogs together last year– a major increase since the police took the lead role in investigating animal cruelty complaints across the city.