Monmouth County SPCA law enforcement unit moves to prosecutor’s office

The law enforcement component of the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MCSPCA) is now headquartered at the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Freehold Township.

Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni made the announcement on June 1.

“Monmouth County residents are not going to notice any changes in the way animal cruelty cases are handled because the new (state) law recognizes the successful model we have employed here for many years. It was designed with our input and real-world experiences,” Gramiccioni said.

Just prior to leaving the governor’s office, Chris Christie signed into law a bill that moves the law enforcement powers related to animal cruelty cases from the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NJSPCA) to the various county prosecutor’s offices, according to a press release from the prosecutor’s office.

Under the newly revised statute, the power of humane law enforcement was transferred to county prosecutors, and each municipality and police department is now required to designate a municipal humane law enforcement officer. The law also requires each county prosecutor to designate an animal cruelty prosecutor to investigate, prosecute, and take other legal action as appropriate for violations of the animal cruelty laws of the state, according to the press release.

The MCSPCA Humane Police Department is led by Chief Enforcement Officer Ross Licitra, a retired detective lieutenant from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office. Licitra also serves as the executive director of the MCSPCA.

The second highest ranking humane law enforcement officer at the MCSPCA is Lt. Tom Nuccio, who is a retired detective sergeant from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office. Both Licitra and Nuccio retired in 2011.

“Our day-to-day activities will remain the same while we aggressively enforce animal protection laws. We will do our best to protect these vulnerable creatures who find their ways into our hearts and win their place in our family structures at home and in our neighborhoods,” Licitra said.

Monmouth County assistant prosecutors Melanie Falco and Joshua Detzky are designated as the county’s animal cruelty prosecutors. Falco also serves as director of the office’s Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Bureau. Detzky is assigned to that same unit.

To report suspected cruelty to animals in Monmouth County, call 732-542-0040. The old hotline number is no longer in service, according to the press release.