A decade ago, it was impossible to tell whether animal abuse was on the rise or decline. There was no way of tracking animal abuse since it didn’t have its own category and was just classified as “other.” Starting this month, neglect, torture, organized abuse and sexual abuse of animals is tracked just like homicide and other “Group A” offenses. Police are now required to report animal abuse offenses to the FBI, in the same way they do murder and assault.
According to The Washington Post, The FBI defines cruelty to animals as: “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.”
The FBI reported on four categories of crimes that will be tracked: simple or gross neglect, intentional abuse and torture, organized abuse — like dog fighting and cock fighting — and animal sexual abuse. Data collection begins in 2016 and will be available to the public the following year.
In addition to this being a positive change for pets, it also stands to help other victims as well. Research shows that animal abuse is linked to domestic violence and other crimes against people. Animal abuse is often followed by other violent offenses toward human victims. Now that the FBI will be tracking animal abuse, 2-legged victims will also benefit.
The Spot Abuse Project reports that as many as “76% of animal abusers also abuse a member of their family. The premise is that if more people can be convinced to dial 911 when they suspect animal abuse (an act generally considered to be easier than reporting domestic abuse), that the police will then have the opportunity to uncover a higher number of domestic violence cases.”
Would you be more likely to call 911 knowing that a high percentage of animal abusers also abuse people? Thanks for sharing your reaction in a comment below