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NYC Forms Special Unit To Put Animal Abusers Behind Bars

The victims of animal cruelty might be voiceless, but the message Queens District Attorney Richard Brown sent abusers this week was loud and clear.

On Monday, Brown announced the creation of New York City's first Animal Cruelty Prosecutions Unit, a new division dedicated solely to bringing people who hurt animals to justice.

Brown and Brewster, whose former owner was prosecuted by the Queens County D.A.Twitter/QueensDABrown

Brown and Brewster, whose former owner was prosecuted by the Queens County D.A. | Twitter/QueensDABrown

"Such criminal activity cannot be tolerated if we wish to be known as a civilized society," said Brown. "Such atrocities, which studies have shown can be a precursor to crimes against people, constitute criminal activity against innocent and abused animal victims."

Brown's office named veteran attorney Nicoletta Caferri as the first chief of the unit, citing her work prosecuting the man who abandoned Brewster, a horrifyingly emaciated boxer left for dead in a New York City park last month.

While Brewster miraculously managed to recover, his initial shocking condition made him a symbol of animal neglect in the city. In the end, the dog's former owner pled guilty to felony animal cruelty thanks to the case put together by Caferri and the rest of Brown's office.

"[Brown's] decision to create an Animal Cruelty Prosecutions Unit in his office is sound public policy that demonstrates a genuine commitment to ensuring that justice is served for these vulnerable and voiceless victims," said Scott Heiser, an attorney with the Animal Legal Defense Fund. "Bravo D.A. Brown."

To learn about how you can help animals and fight cruelty in your area, click here.