Rabbit Advocacy Animal Matters


FBI to Start Tracking Animal Cruelty Cases

September 17, 2014 Wayne Pacelle, HSUS

Cruelty to animals will get its own category in federal crime reports for the first time. I got that word yesterday from John Thompson, my friend at the National Sheriffs’ Association, who told me that Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comer has signed off on including animal cruelty offenses in the Uniform Crime Report. Local agencies will also track them to report to the FBI.

No longer will extremely violent cases be included in the “other offense” category simply because the victims were animals. Just as the FBI tracks hate crimes and other important categories, we will now have critical data on animal cruelty. 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.

Before this expansion of the FBI’s focus, there was no process for capturing animal cruelty data on the statewide or national level. Capturing such data is especially difficult because animal cruelty laws are enforced by a very large number of local police, sheriffs, and humane society agents and animal control officers.

But 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. 

The decision by the FBI is especially good news for The HSUS, because we are on the frontlines of the battle against animal cruelty in so many ways. We are upgrading state and federal laws, and just this year South Dakota became the 50th state to enact felony penalties for malicious cruelty, and Congress banned attendance at animal fights. Besides the thousands of cases on which we work with law enforcement agencies every year to rescue animals from animal cruelty and fighting, we also travel across the country to train law enforcement officials on how to investigate these crimes. 

So far this year, we have provided training to more than 1,200 officers, representing 300 agencies, and in areas of the country where it is needed most. It is a new training program designed by experts from across the United States (including our own) and we look forward to expanding it in 2015.

I am enormously grateful for the work of the National Sheriffs’ Association and the Department of Justice in recognizing the importance of animal cruelty. This new development, which has been on the radar of the animal protection movement for years, is a practical way of cracking down on cruelty. The decision is also significant in affirming, at the highest levels of our government, that animal cruelty is a vice just like so many other violent crimes. It is the latest tangible gain in our effort to make opposition to animal cruelty a universal value in our society.   

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. (this must change; animals are not property to be exploited for human use, the economy, or greed. They are sentient beings and ALL deserve to live)


The FBI Is Classifying Animal Abuse As A Top-Tier Felony To Stop It Once And For All 

October 2, 2014 Elitedaily.com

Abuse an animal, and you’ll be considered among the ranks of murderers and cannibals.

Earlier this week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced that animal abuse will be prosecuted as a “crime against society,” making it a Group A felony equal to arson and murder in the eyes of the law. The AP reports that the FBI will prosecute intentional abuse and torture, gross neglect, sexual abuse and organized abuse, which includes dog fights. The policy change is an effort to prosecute more animal abusers, landing them in jail and setting an example. Animal abuse is not simply a minor crime.

The National Sheriff’s Association hopes that arresting abusers will help minimize criminal activity in the future by collecting information about the people who commit animal abuse. Psychologists have long suspected connections between animal abuse and behavioral disorders. Reports say that serial killer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer often brutally decapitated stray animals as a child. If he’d been behind bars, 17 men would never have died. His story is just one of many.

The FBI will reportedly begin collecting information about animal abuse in January of 2016, taking the time to restructure internal systems and systems of reporting crimes.

April 2020: AWI scorecard: https://awionline.org/content/animal-cruelty-reporting-scorecard Data from the FBI's National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS):  In 2017 & 2018, which are the last years for which figures are currently available, Delaware, Colorado & New Hampshire came out on top, while Massachusetts, West Virginia & Idaho fell to the bottom.

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Our treatment of non-human beings can be a catalyst for a more just and compassionate society, or it can be a symptom of a society that has lost its moral compass.