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Animal abuse and neglect to be tracked and treated as a crime against society

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Animal abuse a crime against society

Animal abusers will see a big change in punishment beginning next year. The FBI is taking a stance for animal and human welfare by changing animal abuse laws. Next year animal abuse and cruelty will be handles the same as more serious crimes, like homicide.


Animal abusers have a new reason to think twice before inflicting harm on the voiceless. Beginning next year the FBI will treat animal cruelty as a crime against society, which indeed is more than appropriate and a welcome change for everyone that has been a voice for pet and wildlife welfare.

Animal cruelty to be treated same as homicide

The new approach to animal cruelty places abuse and harm in the same category as homicide, arson, kidnapping and burglary.

Crimes against animals will also be maintained in a federal registry - the Uniform Crime Report — National Incident Based Reporting System, which will give everyone a way to track those with a history of crimes agains animals - including shelters and rescue groups.

New animal cruelty laws protects humans

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The public, especially animal lovers and the research community recognizes that animal abusers are likely to harm humans too. For instance, Jeffrey Dahmer's history was laden with stories of unspeakable acts such as impaling frogs and cats.

The FBI says treating animal cruelty as a crime against society will help reveal what motivates people to commit such acts, thus protecting animals from further abuse and lessening the chances that those who commit a crime against animals will inflict harm on humans.

The news is good on many levels. It isn't discussed often enough that animal abuse, which in itself is heinous, has a negative impact on human health. You only need to look at comments in forums and articles to understand the heart break the public feels from animal cruelty. Groups such as Mercy for Animals and The National Institute for Animal Advocacy have been working for years to ensure animals are treated with respect and dignity, the same as humans.

FBI criminal profiler, John Douglas, writes in The Mind Hunter that serial offenders "earliest acts of violence are often the torture and/or killing of pets or wildlife, then brutalizing younger siblings, and then finally engaging in domestic violence or street crime."

The FBI will monitor four areas of animal abuse:

  • Simple/gross neglect
  • Intentional abuse and torture
  • Animal sexual abuse
  • Organized abuse, such a dog fighting and hopefully factory farming cruelty

Animal cruelty will become a "group A" felony in 2015. Now statistics related to animal abuse will be readily available - something that has been elusive. Pet owners will no longer be let off the hook for letting dogs and cats starve or remain untreated, which would fall under the category of simple or gross neglect. Torturing an animal will be in the same criminal category as homicide, arson or burglary.

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