- Associated Press - Saturday, October 21, 2017

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey’s top law enforcement officer announced Friday that he wants an independent monitor installed at the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

The State Commission of Investigation published a report that same day that alleges the agency is run by “wannabe cops” who waste money and abuse their power.

Attorney General Christopher Porrino told NJ.com that his office has also been investigating the agency before calling for the monitor.

“Our investigation led us to demand the installation of a monitor to oversee the agency’s operations,” Porrino told NJ.com. “To avoid litigation that we were prepared to commence in order to compel such oversight, the SPCA consented.”

Porrino said the monitor would provide oversight of the agency’s financial, organizational and management practices.

The group called the SCI report a “hatchet job,” but said it wouldn’t have a problem with a monitor.

The SCI report says that having private citizens staff the part-time policing unit is “illogical, ineffective” and makes the system vulnerable to abuse.

The report says that the group can take as long as a month to respond to abuse reports and says that humane officers had out-of-date firearm permits and some even pulled people over for traffic stops. It notes that the group lost its nonprofit status because of accounting problems. The group regained tax-exempt status this summer.

The group had sued unsuccessfully to block the release of the report, which found that it’s spent more than $100,000 fighting public records requests over five years.

The report is a follow-up to one the agency published in 2000 that recommended changes on how the state handles animal cruelty cases.

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