A Guardians of Rescue trainer works with one of the dogs it saved.

At Smithtown-based Guardians of Rescue, former top gun-toting lawmen are taking their skills to the streets to save four-legged victims of animal abuse and catch perpetrators.

Founded by Robert Misseri in 2010, the nonprofit works with agencies and law enforcement across the globe to bring much-needed intelligence to acute and chronic cruelty cases. 

“Most agencies do not have the time or resources to address these urgent cries for help,” says Misseri. “While animal-related cases may not be of high importance to others, they are a top priority to the Guardians. We take the cases no one else can handle.”

With a heavy influence in Southern states where animal laws and protections are lacking, the Guardians take on investigations that others turn away. Reducing the number of cases in the South can decrease the number of dogs coming up North. Recent cases include dog-fighting rings, abandoned cats, and a mutilated dog.

Contributing to the organization’s success is the dedicated and highly skilled group of individuals that make up the Guardians of Rescue, all possessing an incredible amount of passion for change. Among them is Director of Investigations Jack Garcia, a former undercover FBI agent, who spent 26 years working cases ranging from public corruption to terrorism. In the event a case doesn’t result in prosecution, the Guardians continue to monitor the suspect(s) with their licensed private investigators. 

Outside of conducting in-depth investigations, the Guardians run several animal welfare projects on a global scale. One of their largest undertakings has been their hard-hitting nationwide spay and neuter efforts. 

“We’re focusing on changing the mentality of local agencies, working to bring in more aggressive programs to help bring the stray population to a standstill,” says Misseri.  

For animals forced to live outside, they provide Styrofoam shelters on a situational basis. 

“We always try to convince neglectful owners to surrender their dogs,” he says. “Living outside is never the right thing for a dog. Just one night of frigid temperatures is the worst torture an animal can go through. In most cases, we can at least get the dogs off the chains and into kennels or insulated dog houses. In many cases, it’s the difference between life and death.”

Animals rescued by the Guardians can be adopted through their rescue group partner, Save-A-Pet via saveapetusa.org To volunteer or donate, visit guardiansofrescue.org

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