ASPCA Honors NYPD Officers, Prosecutors, and a Veterinarian at Fourth Annual Appreciation Luncheon

NEW YORK—The ASPCA®(The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today honored fourteen members of the New York City Police Department (NYPD), three prosecutors, and one veterinarian for their tireless efforts to help animals through the NYPD/ASPCA Partnership. As the organization marks the conclusion of the fifth year of the partnership, recognized among this year’s awardees two NYPD leaders for their support and hard work over the past half-decade.

The honorees attended a celebratory luncheon held at the ASPCA’s Adoption Center and were given appreciation awards for their critical roles in preventing, investigating, and prosecuting cases of animal cruelty and neglect in 2018 and providing critical care for victims. Also, this is the first year the ASPCA honored a veterinarian from one of the eight 24-hour veterinary hospitals in NYC that partner with the ASPCA to provide critical care for animal cruelty victims during evening and overnight hours when the ASPCA Animal Hospital is closed.

“The ASPCA is honored to reflect not only on the contributions of our partners this year but throughout the past five years of this life-saving collaboration between the ASPCA and NYPD”, said Howard Lawrence, Vice President of ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement. “The ASPCA relies on dedicated professionals in the NYPD, prosecutors’ offices and the veterinary field without whose contributions we could not continue our progress against animal cruelty in New York City.”

This year’s honorees were:

Five Year Award:
Captain Mark Gaudioso,
Chief of Patrol’s Office
Captain Gaudioso has served as the department’s chief liaison to the ASPCA since the inception of the NYPD/ASPCA Partnership. Captain Gaudioso oversees animal cruelty training for the entire department and is responsible for the proper dissemination of relevant materials and data to all members. During his tenure over 1,500 members of the department have received animal cruelty training. Captain Gaudioso was also instrumental in establishing animal liaison officers in every command. These officers have become invaluable resources when animal welfare issues arise in the community. 
Assistant Chief Jason Wilcox,
Detective Bureau
Assistant Chief Wilcox is being recognized for his unwavering support of the NYPD/ASPCA Partnership. In his former role as Chief of Bronx Detectives, Assistant Chief Wilcox was involved with the partnership at its inception as only a pilot project in Bronx County. His support during those early stages proved crucial in the success of the program moving forward and eventually citywide. Assistant Chief Wilcox was instrumental in ensuring that the earliest animal abuse cases were properly referred and investigated by the NYPD Detective Bureau. In his new role in the Detective Bureau, Assistant Chief Wilcox continues support the partnership and has proven to be an invaluable resource.
Annual Award:
Dr. Inbal Lavotshkin, Medical Director
Veterinary Emergency and Referral Group
Dr. Inbal Lavotshkin is the Medical Director of the Veterinary Emergency and Referral Group (VERG) Hospital South in Brooklyn, one of two VERG locations that partner with the ASPCA to provide after-hours veterinary care for victims rescued by the NYPD. Dr. Lavotshkin is always available to provide the medical updates that are essential to moving cases forward. In situations where we have needed housing for groups of animals that are part large scale neglect cases, Dr. Lavotshkin and her team have on short notice in numerous situations taken large groups of animals in for care. Dr. Lavotshkin has also, on her own, identified animal victims of cruelty brought to VERG and notified NYPD of her concerns. 
Assistant District Attorney Joshua Loigman,
Bronx County District Attorney’s Office
ADA Loigman is being recognized for his dedication and expertise in prosecuting many of the animal cruelty cases in Bronx County. In 2017, ADA Loigman assumed responsibility for animal cruelty cases in Bronx County. ADA Loigman has worked hand in hand with the NYPD and the ASPCA to review, investigate, and ensure the successful prosecution of many animal-related crimes in the county. He is always available to assist in whatever way is needed, whether it be Sunday afternoon or Friday night.
Assistant United States Attorney Michael Longyear,
Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie Lake,
Southern District of New York
AUSAs Longyear and Lake are being recognized for their dedication and expertise in prosecuting a dog fighting case in Federal Court in the Southern District of New York.  The case originated in May 2017 when the NYPD, with the assistance of the ASPCA, executed a dog fighting search warrant in Bronx County. Because of that warrant, 17 dogs were rescued and their owner, Rasheem Richardson was charged with violating the Federal Animal Welfare Act. AUSAs Longyear and Lake invested tremendous time, resources and energy into investigating and prosecuting the case, and as a result, Richardson was convicted on all counts and sentenced to 29 months in prison. This case is especially notable because this is the first ever federal dog fighting case to go to trial. 
Police Officer Ofelia Mero, 44th Precinct
PO Mero is the animal liaison in the 44th Precinct in the Bronx. She is being recognized for her tireless work to improve the welfare of animals not only in the 44th Precinct but in the entire borough of the Bronx as well. She often initiates cruelty cases outside of her work day. She can be relied on to assist the ASPCA any time day or night. She has accumulated a very impressive amount of animal rescues and remains an asset to the NYPD/ASPCA Partnership.
Police Officer Philip Longo, 67th Precinct
Earlier this year PO Longo responded to a complaint of animal abuse after an individual was observed on surveillance video repeatedly whipping one of his two dogs with a leash. PO Longo acted quickly and was able to identify the individual, arrest him, and seize the dog he had been observed hitting. However, PO Longo’s work on the case did not end there. Upon realizing that the video he observed may not have been the first time the suspect hit the dog, he returned to the location and obtained additional surveillance video, which confirmed that the suspect had whipped the dog with the leash on at least two prior occasions. PO Longo then worked with the Brooklyn DA’s Office to obtain a search warrant to seize the suspect’s other dog. PO Longo’s dedication and persistence on this case was instrumental in protecting both dogs from further abuse and his actions secured important additional evidence that will be critical to the prosecution of the case, which is still pending.   
Police Officer Christopher Ferreira, 73rd Precinct
PO Ferreira has been a strong supporter of the partnership since his past role as Neighborhood Coordination Officer of the 73rd Precinct. Through his interaction with the liaison program, PO Ferreira requested the assistance of our Community Engagement team in response to an ongoing identified animal cruelty issue in his sector. Two Community Engagement members responded to assist the PO and it was quickly determined that this case was developing into a criminal situation. PO Ferreira took immediate action arresting the owner of two dogs who had been consistently left outdoors without shelter in fierce, inclement weather. The owner was found guilty at a jury trial in Kings County and convicted of one count of misdemeanor cruelty and two counts of inappropriate shelter in connection with the mistreatment of his dogs. This case is a great example of how PO Ferreira has consistently worked with the Community Engagement team in responding to identified animal cruelty concerns in the precinct.
Police Officer Paul Egerter, 101st Precinct
PO Egerter is being recognized for his continued assistance with animal abuse cases in the 101st Precinct. In early 2018, he was integral in assisting the ASPCA in the removal of over 30 cats and five dogs from an ongoing hoarding situation in Far Rockaway. As a Neighborhood Coordination Officer, PO Egerter always follows up on all complaints involving animal cruelty-related calls and ensures a proper conclusion. PO Egerter has conferred on several complaints of alleged animal cruelty and is currently involved in a follow up case with members of the ASPCA Community Engagement team. PO Egerter always provides a supportive presence at all our NYPD/ASPCA outreach events and to be a great resource to ASPCA members operating in the field.
Police Officer Lori Murray, 19th Precinct
Police Officer Daniel Pardo, 19th Precinct
In September 2018, Neighborhood Coordination Officers Murray and Pardo responded to a 911 call of a dog taken for ransom by a dog walker. The owner of the dog explained to the officers that an individual hired to walk her dog was threatening to hurt the dog unless she paid him $1,000. Through valiant efforts POs Murray and Pardo were able to reunite the owner with her beloved companion. In addition to quick thinking and excellent police work on this case, POs Murray and Pardo have been the 19thPrecinct animal liaisons since the beginning of the NYPD/ASPCA partnership.     
Police Officer Alberto Guzman, PSA 7
In July 2018, PO Alberto Guzman responded to multiple calls from tenants of an East Village apartment, reporting that 20 dogs were abandoned in a neighboring unit. Upon arrival neighbors further stated that they had not seen the tenant of the apartment for approximately five days. PO Guzman decided that given the amount of time the animals were left alone coupled with the dangerously hot weather, immediate action needed to be taken. Through the NYPD Emergency Services PO Guzman was able to enter the apartment and observed 33 Shih Tzu-mix dogs living in dangerous, deplorable conditions. PO Guzman was able to reach the tenant and immediately place him under arrest for animal cruelty. With the assistance of our Community Engagement team and PO Guzman all 33 dogs were removed from the apartment and put up for adoption at the ASPCA Adoption Center or a rescue partner.
Police Officer Richard Owen, 122nd Precinct
PO Owen plays an instrumental role in ensuring that Staten Island’s pets and pet owners are healthy and happy. His warm, empathic approach coupled with an immense level of patience allows him to quickly build trust with community members. PO Owen always makes himself available to visit our Community Engagement team’s clients together and maintains a vested interest in all outcomes, big or small. We are fortunate to have such a strong animal advocate like PO Owen working on behalf of the NYPD and promoting the ASPCA’s services.
Detective Louise SanFilippo, 122ndPrecinct
Det. SanFilippo, a precinct Neighborhood Coordination Officer, is being recognized for her dedication and ongoing assistance with all animal related matters occurring in her command. Det. SanFilippo follows up on all animal cruelty-related 311 calls and ensures a proper conclusion. In those instances when a case does not require law enforcement intervention, Det. SanFilippo always works with the ASPCA’s Community Engagement team to ensure that proper resources are provided to that community resident and their pet. As an animal advocate, Dr. SanFilippo is always available to assist with animal related issues and her efforts have contributed greatly to the success of the ASPCA/NYPD Partnership in the borough of Staten Island.
Detective Andrew Hernandez, Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad
As one of the senior members of the Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad, Det. Hernandez has played a significant part in numerous arrests made in animal cruelty cases, resulting in the rescue of hundreds of animals. Prior to becoming a member of the NYPD, Det. Hernandez worked as an investigator for the ASPCA. With his years of experience working for the ASPCA and his 25 years of policing, he has become one of the top investigators in the unit. This year alone, his tenacity led to the arrest of an individual responsible for the horrific act of throwing a dog from the roof of a Bronx building resulting in its death.
Deputy Inspector Courtney Nilan,
Commanding Officer 102nd Precinct
In her previous post as Executive Officer of the 101st Precinct, D.I. Nilan clearly demonstrated her leadership skills in combating animal cruelty in the Rockaways. She was instrumental in the development of the Neighborhood Coordination Officer Program, which has proven an invaluable asset in protecting the lives of animals within that command. With her guidance the ASPCA has been able to provide large-scale medical care to the residents of the Rockaways and their pets. She was an invaluable asset during the “Ready in the Rockaways” event held the past year. She continues to provide support to ongoing programs in her role as the Commanding Officer of the 102nd Precinct. She has provided ASPCA training opportunities for the members of her command and has also been supportive in our ongoing effort to educate the members of the public through community events and council meetings.
Inspector Rafael Mascol,
Commanding Officer 73rd Precinct
Inspector Mascol has been an avid supporter of the NYPD/ASPCA Partnership stemming from his time as Commanding Officer of PSA 2. On Saturday, September 15th, the NYPD and ASPCA co-sponsored an animal wellness event at Brooklyn’s 73rd Precinct. in an effort to bolster police and community relations, Inspector Mascol spearheaded hosted the event at the precinct station house. The event provided a perfect venue for community residents and their pets to interact with each other as well as with members of police department and various service providers, like Safe Horizon, Health First and Animal Care Centers of NYC who were present, tabling and promoting their services. The ASPCA provided free wellness examinations and vaccinations to 66 dogs and 14 cats.
About the NYPD/ASPCA Partnership
Launched in January 2014, the NYPD and ASPCAcitywide partnershipcontinues to have a considerable positive impact for New York City’s vulnerable animals. Since its launch, more than 3,200 animals have been treated through the partnership. 

PHOTOS: Photos of each honoree receiving their award from can be downloaded at this link https://aspca.widencollective.com/dam/externalorderpickup/424bb0a5-b0a2-4cd3-a941-fd6c09e27537

Each photo is labeled with recipient’s name and below are corresponding captions. (Photo credit to ASPCA)

  • Assistant Chief Jason Wilcox with Howard Lawrence, Vice President, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement (right)
  • Assistant District Attorney Joshua Loigman with Howard Lawrence, Vice President, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement, and Erin Satterthwaite, Bronx Legal Advocacy Counsel, ASPCA
  • Assistant United States Attorney Michael Longyear with Howard Lawrence, Vice President, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement, and Elizabeth Brandler, Legal Advocacy Senior Counsel, ASPCA, (Not pictured) Assistant United States Attorney Stephanie Lake
  • Captain Mark Gaudioso with Howard Lawrence, Vice President, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement
  • Deputy Inspector Courtney Nilan with Howard Lawrence, Vice President, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement (left) and James Dean, ASPCA Law Enforcement Liaison
  • Detective Andrew Hernandez, NYPD Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad, with Howard Lawrence, Vice President, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement, (right) and Lt. Adrian Ashby, Commanding Officer NYPD Animal Cruelty Investigation Squad
  • Detective Louise SanFilippo with Howard Lawrence, Vice President, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement, (right) and David Little, Senior Director, ASPCA Law Enforcement Liaison
  • Police Officer Alberto Guzman with Howard Lawrence, Vice President, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement, and Michael Mugan, ASPCA Law Enforcement Liaison
  • Police Officer Ofelia Mero (middle right) with Howard Lawrence, Vice President, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement, (right) and Paul Mayer, ASPCA Law Enforcement Liaison
  • Police Officer Philip Longo with Howard Lawrence, Vice President, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement, and Elizabeth Brandler, Legal Advocacy Senior Counsel, ASPCA
  • Police Officer Richard Owen with Howard Lawrence, Vice President, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement
  • Police Officers Lori Murray and Daniel Pardo with Howard Lawrence, Vice President, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement, (far right) and Michael Mugan, ASPCA Law Enforcement Liaison
  • Lt. Casey Morgan on behalf of Inspector Rafael Mascol with Howard Lawrence, Vice President, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement, (right) and David Little, Senior Director, ASPCA Law Enforcement Liaison
  • Shevonne Johnson of VERG on behalf of Dr. Inbal Lavotshkin with Howard Lawrence, Vice President, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement, (right) and Dr. Robert Reisman, Forensic Sciences Supervisor, ASPCA
  • Not Pictured: Police Officer Chris Ferreira and Police Officer Paul Egerter

About the ASPCA®
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.