According to the FBI animal abuse is a top-tier crime

The investigation agency has listed animal abuse as a class A felony and started collecting data on this type of crime.

In the United States animals will be safer from now on since the FBI in January 2016 decided to compare animal abuse to class A felonies such as murder, assault, drug trafficking and arson.


smiling Labrador
Since January 2016 the FBI has compared animal abuse to class A felonies © Dex Images/CORBIS


According to the Washington Post, this epochal change should be partly attributed to Mary Lou Randour, psychologist and writer, the Program Director of Psychologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and a consultant to the Doris Day Foundation, an animal protection association that has long been fighting for this recognition.


“We know that animals suffer and enjoy complex emotional lives – Mary Lou Randour said. – In most societies it’s recognised that creatures that are dependent on others, whether the elderly or children or animals, need to be protected”.


fbi office
The FBI started to add the crimes against animals to the database National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) database © Mark Peterson/Corbis


The FBI defines animal abuse 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” and identified four types of cruelty.


Simple or gross neglect, intentional abuse and torture, organised abuse (like dog and cock fighting) and animal sexual abuse. Punishments for these offences have changed and the same goes for the way they are monitored: the FBI now uses the same methods and care used to investigate more serious crimes.


Data related to the crimes against animals are now added to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), the database used by the FBI to register national crimes. It is proven that those who mistreat animals “train” to commit cruelties towards human beings as well.


caged dogs
65% of those arrested for crimes against animals also committed offences against human beings © Bronek Kaminski/Corbis


After a four-year study the Chicago Police Department demonstrated that 65% of the people arrested for crimes against animals also committed offences against human beings. Collecting data on animal abuse can help the FBI identify violent individuals and potential killers.

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