HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Suffolk County SPCA is offering training for members of the public willing to serve as volunteer animal welfare investigators.

Chief Roy Gross said the move follows a recent upsurge in animal cruelty cases, including apparent ritualistic killings in which chickens and goats were found beheaded.

“We will train them how to investigate these cases,” Gross told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall. “If they have law enforcement experience, that’s that much better.”

Volunteers will have to pass a background check.

The training will include various aspects of the law; writing reports; and courtroom testimony.

Gross said the SPCA also needs other volunteers, including someone to answer hotline calls.

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