FREEHOLD, NJ — Now that law enforcement powers in animal cruelty cases now fall under the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, the only noticeable change for the community is a new hot line number to report those cases.

The new telephone number to report suspected cruelty to animals is 732-542-0040. Since the old hot line number is no longer in service, officials urged residents to make note of the change.

Before leaving office, Gov. Chris Christie signed into law a bill that moved the law enforcement powers related to animal cruelty cases from the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NJSPCA) to the state’s 21 county prosecutor’s offices.

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On June 1, the law enforcement component of the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MCSPCA) officially became headquartered in the prosecutor’s office.

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

As a result, MCSPCA’s Humane Police Department is led by chief enforcement officer Ross Licitra, a retired detective lieutenant from the prosecutor’s office, who also serves as the executive director of the organization.

The second highest ranking humane law enforcement officer at the MCSPCA is Lt. Tom Nuccio, who is also a retired detective sergeant from the 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.

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