Massachusetts State Troopers Carlo Mastromattei and Christopher Kane, who serve on Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden's new Animal Cruelty Task Force, got to know Winter, a 14-week-old puppy under the Animal Rescue League's care, at today's announcement.
The Massachusetts State Police is proud to announce that it is part of the new Suffolk County Animal Cruelty Task Force, the county’s first multi-agency effort aimed at reducing abuse of animals and coordinating law enforcement efforts to help bring animal abusers to justice.
The task force was created by Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden with assistance from the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL-Boston), the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (MSPCA), and law enforcement agencies throughout the county. Two Massachusetts State Police members, Trooper Carlo Mastromattei of the Troop A Community Action Team and Trooper Christopher Kane of the State Police-Revere Barracks, serve on the task force.
Hayden, a dog owner, said the task force will improve the quality of information and methods used among the participating agencies in investigations of crimes against animals.
“Anyone who has ever loved or owned a pet knows the joy and happiness they bring to our lives," Hayden said. "All these pets ask in return is to be sheltered, fed and cared for when they’re sick or hurt. Sadly, too many animals and pets end up getting hurt through malicious intent or conscious neglect. This task force will improve our ability to investigate, charge and prosecute these cases and, hopefully, reduce them."
The MSPCA and ARL-Boston conducted hundreds of investigations of animal abuse in 2023. Last year, 17 individuals were charged in Suffolk County with at least one animal cruelty related offense. Sixteen of the defendants were adults and one was a juvenile.
The owner of a dog training and boarding facility in South Boston was charged last May following an investigation by the Animal Rescue League after three dogs lost significant amounts of weight or were injured during their stay at the facility.
A Revere man was charged with assaulting his roommate and killing his dog in August. First responders entering the man’s apartment found a dog covered in blood, suffering from at least five stab wounds.
A Boston man was charged after a neighbor noticed a strong odor emanating from his Chelsea apartment. A well-being check led to the discovery of a feces-covered apartment and a decomposing dog.
In November, a Boston woman was charged after multiple witnesses reported seeing her punch, kick, and strike her dog with a glass bottle in the Boston Common area.
Animal cruelty cases are increasing in Suffolk County and statewide. According to the Massachusetts Trial Court, animal cruelty cases have increased more than 70 percent from 2019-2022. According to the Domestic Violence Awareness Project, up to 70 percent of domestic violence victims have pets and of those, up to nearly three-fourths of them report their animals are hurt or killed by their abuser.
The Suffolk County Animal Cruelty Task Force will centralize the various agencies involved in animal abuse cases into a group of designated individuals with knowledge of animal cruelty law and enforcement tactics. This streamlined approach will improve information flow, create a more proficient understanding of animal cruelty investigations and prosecutions, and identify necessary legislative improvements to the state’s animal protection laws.
The task force will be chaired by Assistant District Attorney Amelia Singh, chief of the DA’s office in Chelsea District Court, and will include members of the Boston, Chelsea, Winthrop and Revere police departments, the Massachusetts State Police, the Massachusetts Environmental Police, the Animal Rescue League of Boston, the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the Massachusetts Department of Agriculture and the animal control departments in Boston, Chelsea, Winthrop and Revere.