Humane Law Enforcement


Just prior to leaving the Governor’s Office, Chris Christie signed into law a bill that moves the law enforcement powers related to animal cruelty cases to the County Prosecutors.  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 the individual municipalities, who work in conjunction with, and are ultimately overseen by, the County Prosecutors. 

A municipal humane law enforcement officer shall have the power and authority within the municipality in which the officer is designated, or otherwise authorized to act, as a municipal humane law enforcement officer to:

(1) enforce all animal welfare and animal cruelty laws of the State and ordinances of the municipality;

(2) investigate and sign complaints concerning any violation of an animal welfare or animal cruelty law of the State or ordinance of the municipality; and

(3) act as an officer for the detection, apprehension, and arrest of offenders against the animal welfare and animal cruelty laws of the State and ordinances of the municipality.

Each municipality and police department is now required to designate a municipal Humane Law Enforcement Officer.  In order to hold the position of Humane Law Enforcement Officer, all of these newly designated police officers and county investigators must now be certified by the Police Training Commission.  The PTC certified municipal Humane Law Enforcement Officer for the Town of Westfield, and your point of contact for these matters, is Detective Robert Desiato.

It is the policy of the Westfield Police Department to enforce animal cruelty violations, animal welfare statutes, and related local ordinances in accordance with the New Jersey Attorney General and Union County Prosecutor’s Office guidelines and directives.

If you would like to report suspected abuse and/or cruelty to animals, please call 908-789-4000 x0 or Submit a Crime Tip.  If an animal is in imminent danger, please call 9-1-1.  You will be asked to provide information; however, you can remain anonymous if you wish.

For additional information regarding animal cruelty, please visit the Union County Prosecutor's Office Animal Cruelty Informational Sheet.