Animal Control Officers were soon recognized locally as the animal problem facilitator. When a resident would call the police and the word animal was entered into the request for assistance, the police soon became dependant on the ACO (Animal Control Officer). They knew we were the proper agency to address animal concerns. The police and now the Animal Control Officers, soon realized that the animal cruelty enforcement system was antiquated and in need of repair.
In 1989 the New Jersey Certified Animal Control Officers Association along with the Humane Society of the United States (www.HSUS.org) and other animal welfare groups, proposed legislation that would allow Animal Control Officers with additional training, to enforce the animal cruelty statutes of New Jersey. After a long battle, against unexpected opposition, the legislature agreed with our Association. On September 9, 1997, section 3 of P.L. 1983, c525 was amended by L. 1997, c 247 & 3, eff. Dec. 8, 1997. It states, “Only certified animal control officers who have completed the training may be authorized by the governing body to act as an officer for the detection, apprehension, and arrest of offenders; however, officers who have completed the training shall not have the authority to act unless authorized by the governing body which is employing the officer or contracting for the officers services.” Thus, Animal Control Officers with this additional training approved by the PTC (Police Training Committee), and appointed by a governing body, now have the statutory authority to enforce the animal cruelty statutes of the State of New Jersey.
The Animal Cruelty Investigator certification course is required to be sponsored by a NJ approved Police Academy. Currently, the Career Development Institute at www.cditraining.org , which can also be reached by calling (732) 821- 6997 offers this certification course. Since 2001, when the first ACI (Animal Cruelty Investigator) class was held, 107 officers have been State certified. This course is required to be a minimum of 45 hours. In 2003, the class was extended to 7 days, at a minimum of 8 hours a day. The amount of information is overwhelming. The training is unprecedented in New Jersey. We recommend it to everyone, not only Animal Control Officers.