BREAKING NEWS: FBI to Classify Animal Abusers in Same Category as Murders

GOOD NEWS: FBI to classify animal abusers in same category as murders beginning in 2016. The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced this week that animal abuse will be prosecuted as a "crime against society."

The change in classification means animal abusers fall into a Group A felony with arsonists and murderers.

Unless you’re a lawyer this probably means very little to you and sounds confusing. Basically, it is the most serious type of crime one can commit; punishments vary by state.

This change was announced by John Thompson at the National Sheriffs’ Association. FBI Investigation Director James Comey signed off on including animal cruelty offenses in the Uniform Crime Report. Local agencies will also track them to report to the FBI.

The FBI will begin collecting information about animal abuse in 2016.  The delay until 2016, while frustrating, is due to a need to update databases, revise manuals and send out new guidelines. Government progress always involves a lot of paperwork and a long wait, but in the case of combating animal abuse, it is progress none the less.

No longer will extremely violent crimes against animals be included in the “other offense” category simply because the victims were animals. 

Just as the FBI tracks hate crimes and other important categories, they will now have critical data on animal cruelty.

What Classifies a Crime Against Society

The crime against society classification is extremely important in prosecuting and tracking animal abuse. Under this classification, the FBI can collect and track information about animal abuse, which will allow reliable statistics to be generated and shared.

Animal abuse will now be a part of the crime reports that law enforcement must complete every month and allow officials to have better insight into trends so that they can more effectively combat abuse.

This classification also includes murder, drug trafficking, arson, and assault. Many animal advocates have rallied for this sort of classification for years, so seeing it finally come to fruition is quite the victory for people and animals alike.
The HSUS has been pushing for this change in policy for years, along with our affiliates, the Humane Society Legislative Fund and Doris Day Animal League.

According to the FBI, the official definition of animal cruelty will be:

"Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly taking an action that mistreats or kills any animal without just cause, such as torturing, tormenting, mutilation, maiming, poisoning, or abandonment. 

Included are instances of duty to provide care, e.g., shelter, food, water, care if sick or injured; transporting or confining an animal in a manner likely to cause injury or death; causing an animal to fight with another; inflicting excessive or repeated unnecessary pain or suffering, e.g., uses objects to beat or injure an animal. 

This definition does not include proper maintenance of animals for show or sport; use of animals for food, lawful hunting, fishing or trapping." 

Now that animal cruelty, including animal neglect, is included in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, there is a real incentive for law enforcement agencies to pay closer attention to such incidents. 

With accurate data, law enforcement agencies will also be better able to allocate officers and financial resources to handle these cases, track trends and deploy accordingly.

A Positive Step for Animals

This shift in law enforcement is an indication of a positive change in how animals are viewed.

The new classification also splits animal abuse into types by which law enforcement must identify incidents. 

These include simple or gross neglect, intentional abuse or torture, organized abuse such as dogfighting and cockfighting and animal sexual abuse. 

In addition to these changes, the new classification is likely to help with animal cruelty laws in the United States, in terms of enforcing them and punishing those who abuse animals appropriately.

By reclassifying animal abuse and releasing a clear definition of what implicates abuse, the FBI is taking decisive steps towards changing the way our society views animals. 

No longer are animals unfeeling pieces of properties, but they are worthy, sentient creatures that deserve ample protection.

The FBI's new categorization will greatly improve the way such crimes are tracked nationwide and likely will help animal cruelty laws across the United States.

The Examiner
One Green Planet

Related Topics:

Startling Facts About Animal Abuse & Domestic Violence
In recent years, researchers have documented a strong connection between animal abuse and domestic violence. Pet abuse is one of four predictors of ...

Understanding The Connection Between Animal Abuse and Family
Acts of cruelty to animals are not mere indications of a minor personality flaw in the abuser, they are symptomatic of a deep mental disturbance. Research in ...

What to Do if You Suspect Pet Abuse

The American Psychological Association has noted that animal cruelty is often a symptom of behavioral problems in children. As they grow older, these abusers...