The York County SPCA is proud to announce that Otto Cruz, formerly Field Services Agent, was recently sworn in as the organization’s Humane Society Police Officer (HSPO). Since October 2019, Cruz has provided invaluable animal welfare and community outreach services to the York County community. He has been responding to reported crimes against animals; supporting police in investigating and prosecuting animal cruelty offenders; and, when necessary, transporting neglected animals to the safety of the YCSPCA shelter. Additionally, Cruz has helped roll out the YCSPCA Community Cat Initiatives by providing trapping, transportation, and outreach services as it pertains to trap-neuter-return (TNR) of community cats and dogs within York County.
In November 2020, Cruz successfully completed HSPO training through The Pennsylvania Academy for Animal Care and Control (PAACC). He was sworn in as an official Humane Society Police Officer by Judge Joseph C. Adams on December 10th, 2020.
As Humane Society Police Officer, Cruz’s Field Services responsibilities will be expanded to include securing search warrants to assist animal cruelty investigations, prosecuting offenders of crimes against animals, and more. “Becoming a Humane Society Police Officer is very meaningful to me. It gives me the power to do my job properly - to be able to investigate and prosecute animal cruelty cases as well as to educate the community on best practices in the treatment of animals. By knowing the law and having the authority to enforce it, I will be better able to enhance the wellbeing of York County animals and the community,” said Cruz.
Cruz’s achievement marks a significant step forward for the York County SPCA. Steven Martinez, Executive Director of the YCSPCA, said “Can you imagine what our communities would be like if we didn’t protect our beloved animals? As much as we need our animals – they need us too. At the York County SPCA, we stand up for animals who otherwise wouldn’t have a voice or are unable to help themselves. Officer Cruz’s official status as a law enforcement officer empowers us to accomplish one of our core objectives, which is right in our name – to prevent cruelty to animals.”