Angel - The Pet Investigator

Video highlights from Rescue Ink

I used to save people from animals. Now I save animals from people.


Age: 47
Marital status: Married 23 years
Children: Three daughters
Best Pal: Cris, a 7-year-old bichon frise
Hobbies: Karate, weight lifting, raising freshwater tropical fish
Other language: Spanish
Favourite music: Salsa and merengue
Favourite movie: “Batman” and “X-Men”
Actor to Play Him: Sylvester Stallone or Al Pacino
Hero: St. Francis of Assisi

A retired New York Police Department (NYPD) detective who gave 20 years to the job, Angel Nieves is now the organization’s official Pet Investigator. He joined Rescue Ink after meeting some members at a tattoo parlour in 2007, and he has been helping them save animals ever since.

As a police officer he arrested murderers and drug dealers; now he tracks down a different type of bad guy — with the same meticulous care. He is always either on the phone or on the computer, adding details to the cases he keeps in a huge file at his home office. However, some of the cases he works on have to be turned over to law enforcement, so Angel gathers as much information as he can and turns it over to his friends in blue.

His ability to read people came in handy as a cop and now with Rescue Ink. Once bitten in the face by a pit bull that needed to be gotten under control at a street fair, Angel only blamed the owner, who should have understood his dog better. The dog should not have been in such a busy place, which made it necessary for Angel to take the dog from the owner to get it under control. He grew a goatee for a while to cover the bite mark on his chin. Today, the scar is a reminder, not of bad animals, but of how easily animals can get into bad situations — and that is what he and his Rescue Ink buddies are working to prevent.

Angel grew up in the notoriously rough Harlem neighbourhood of New York City — a Puerto Rican kid in the primarily black projects — where he earned his first degrees in street smarts and self-defence. He spent a lot of time at his grandmother’s house nearby, where she had chickens, roosters, rabbits, dogs and cats. He sometimes stole animals from slaughterhouses and took them to her. He also used to keep pigeons in a coop on the roof of an abandoned building. He spent summers at his family’s farm in Puerto Rico, and though it was quite a change from the city streets, he continued to nurture his dedication to animals there.

Today Angel lives in New York with his wife and three daughters.

Discuss this article


Never miss a Nat Geo moment

Your email address
We use our own and third-party cookies to improve our services, personalise your advertising and remember your preferences. If you continue browsing, or click on the accept button on this banner, we understand that you accept the use of cookies on our website. For more information visit our Cookies Policy AcceptClose cookie policy overlay