New Jersey SPCA to appeal verdict limiting autonomy

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2005:

TRENTON–New Jersey SPCA spokesperson Matt Stanton has
indicated that the NJ/SPCA will appeal to the state Supreme Court an
April 14, 2005 ruling by the New Jersey Court of Appeals that
significantly erodes NJ/SPCA authority.
Although the NJ/SPCA was created by state law in 1868 as an
autonomous police force, able to pursue animal abuse cases without
county oversight, the justices held that it lost that autonomy under
the Criminal Justice Act of 1970, which consolidated all police
activities under the authority of the state attorney general and
county prosecutors.
“The ruling leaves the NJ/SPCA as the lead agency in
investigating animal abuse,” wrote Brian T. Murray of the Newark
Star-Ledger, “but it gives each county prosecutor the authority to
oversee and guide procedures and policies. “
As of May 2001, the New Jersey SPCA had 18 chartered
chapters, at least on paper, each with constabulary law enforcement
authority. A review of alleged abuses conducted by the New Jersey
State Commission of Investigation found, however, that “The SPCAs
at both the statewide and county level have been subverted to the
point where in many instances they are incapable of fulfilling their
primary statutory mission–the effective and reliable enforcement of
animal cruelty laws.

“The issue is no longer whether or how to fix this errant
group of self-appointed, self-directed and uncontrolled entities, “
the Commission of Investigation concluded, “but whether to eliminate
the archaic system entirely.”
A state Animal Welfare Task Force appointed in February 2003
by former Governor James E. McGreevey recommended removing the SPCAs
from the lead role in humane law enforcement.
Striving to recover credibility, the New Jersey SPCA itself
in June 2004 revoked the charters of four purportedly dysfunctional

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