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.

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“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.”

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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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