Animal Cruelty Investigations

Unit Commander: Captain Kevin Hincks, Chief Humane Law Enforcement Officer

Assistant Prosecutor: Lynn Heyer , Animal Cruelty Prosecutor

Detectives:  Denise Manino and Grace Long , Humane Law Enforcement Officers

Under the newly revised statute, the power of humane law enforcement was transferred from the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NJSPCA) to County Prosecutors.  Each municipality and police department is required to designate a Municipal Humane Law Enforcement Officer (HLEO).  All law enforcement officers tasked with animal cruelty investigations must be certified by the New Jersey Police Training Commission.  The law also required each County Prosecutor to designate an Animal Cruelty Prosecutor to prosecute and take other legal action as appropriate for violations of the animal cruelty laws of the state under N.J.S.A. Title 4, Chapter 22.

Municipal, County, and State HLEOs are charged with the responsibility of enforcing the State of New Jersey Animal Cruelty Laws.  HLEOs assist in rescuing animals from abuse and insure proper medical attention is provided by a licensed veterinarian.  In addition to investigating allegations of animal cruelty, HLEOs aid in educating the public on the humane treatment of animals.  New Jersey law requires that animals have adequate shelter, food, and water.

The Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office (ACPO) aids local and state Humane Law Enforcement Officers.  ACPO is committed to protecting animals from abuse.

Atlantic County residents and visitors are encouraged to report suspected animal cruelty to the law enforcement agency that services their community.  Any police officer certified by the New Jersey Police Training Commission may respond to or take the initial report of a suspected animal cruelty incident.  The initial responding officer, if not an HLEO, must forward the information to a HLEO for review and follow-up investigation, if warranted.

The abuse and/or cruelty of livestock should immediately be reported to local/state law enforcement.  Additional notification can be made to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, Division of Animal Health by calling 609-671-6400 or via email:

The following definitions are an outline of some potential violations of New Jersey Animal Cruelty or Neglect Laws.

Animal cruelty can be either deliberate abuse or simply the failure to take care of an animal.

Animal Neglect is the failure to provide basic care required for an animal to thrive.

Adverse Environmental Conditions refer to conditions in which the ambient temperature is 35 degrees Fahrenheit or below in the immediate vicinity of a dog, domestic companion animal, or service animal; or where other cold weather or precipitation-related environmental conditions exist. Similarly, adverse environmental conditions exist when the ambient temperature is 90 degrees Fahrenheit or above in the immediate vicinity of a dog, domestic companion animal, or service animal; or when an animal is exposed to direct sunlight, hot pavement, or any other hot surface.

Bodily Injury means physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.

Cruel Conditions are defined as any treatment that is devoid of any human compassion and considered cruel to the point that may pose a danger to the life or wellbeing of an animal. This includes, but is not limited to, cruelly retraining a dog, i.e. using a chain with metal links that are more than ¼” thick or a tether, collar or harness to which a weight is attached; tethering a nursing female dog or a dog less than 4-months old; or tethering a dog in a manner that does not permit the dog continuous access to water in a sanitary and liquid state whenever the dog is tethered for more than 30 minutes.