Nassau law enforcement is teaming up with welfare and rescue groups to investigate and prosecute crimes against animals, officials said Wednesday.

The agreement formalizes the partnership among the Nassau County District Attorney’s office, the police department and the Nassau Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals so that law enforcement can supplement the work of such welfare groups while enforcing animal cruelty laws.

“Crimes against defenseless animals are heartbreaking and we take these cases very seriously,” said Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas. “Especially since we know it’s often a short step between abusing an animal and then abusing a person.”

Singas’ predecessor, Kathleen Rice, first created a unit dedicated to crimes against animals in 2010, including the creation of a hotline for residents to report such crimes.

Asset forfeiture money has been increasingly used to help offset expenses of animal advocates. Last year, the DA’s office doled out $53,000 worth of those funds to veterinarians, shelters and nonprofits who aided injured or abused animals, Singas said, as well as boarding impounded animals during criminal investigations.

Rescued pitbull Kona licks the face of Nassau County director of the Pet Safe Program, Liz Fox, before a news conference about collaboration between NCPD, NCDA, and NCSPCA at the NCPD headquarters in Mineola, on June 7, 2017. Photo Credit: Jeffrey Basinger

“Every rescue or vet or volunteer group that steps forward to help us doesn’t have to worry about being bankrupted by their efforts,” Singas said

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As part of the new agreement, peace officers from the SPCA will assist police or district attorney investigators while police officers will help the group, and others, with high-risk arrests, investigations, evidence collection and analysis, officials said..

The SPCA will also have a 24-hour hotline with the district attorney’s office to discuss possible charges and will provide training for police officers who may have to come in contact with animals, authorities said.

Nassau police will also conduct background checks on the peace officers and will alert the SPCA when they are needed, authorities said.

“For many of us, it seems unfathomable that someone would hurt, neglect, fight or kill innocent animals,” said Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter. “Sadly, all of us standing here today can attest to the heinous crimes that are sometimes committed against those without a voice.”

This week, more than 100 animals, which included snakes, lizards, toads and spiders who were not receiving proper food or water, were rescued from a home in Carle Place, authorities said.