Watchdog group: NJSPCA agency run by 'wannabe cops'

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TRENTON -

The state Commission of Investigation finds the New Jersey SPCA is “a haven for wannabe cops” which has “engaged in and tolerated waste and abuse.” 

The SCI recommends the group’s law enforcement authority be revoked, citing many issues that were first exposed in a year-long Kane In Your Corner investigation.

The SCI report, titled "Wolves in Sheep's Clothing," finds the NJSPCA fails to consistently respond to animal cruelty complaints and engages in “blatant conflicts of interests,” including contracts with companies owned by its board members. Both issues were the subjects of Kane in Your Corner reports earlier this year.

Sen. Ray Lesniak (D – Elizabeth) announced he will hold legislative hearings about the future of the NJSPCA in the wake of the SCI report. 

“We’re obviously going to have to have much greater oversight,” Lesniak says. “We’re either going to reform the New Jersey SPCA or replace it.” 

The SCI had investigated the NJSPCA previously two decades ago. The investigation finds the agency has not addressed many of the deficiencies first identified then. 

In a written statement, NJSPCA president Steve Shatkin accuses the SCI of being “obsessed” with his group, noting that this is the third time since 2000 that a state investigative report has recommended that his group be disbanded or stripped of its power. 

"Is the NJSPCA perfect?” Shatkin writes. “Absolutely not. Is there corruption and misuse of power at the NJSPCA? Unequivocally not."

Read the SCI's full report below:

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