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FBI to Collect Data on Animal Abuse

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) will now use its National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) to track animal cruelty and abuse.

 An FBI podcast last year announced the project in partnership with the National Sheriffs' Association and the Animal Welfare Institute, and as of the first of 2016, data collection has begun.

 In the podcast, Unit Chief Amy Blasher said, “They believe that animal cruelty was an early indicator of violent crime, and that’s really what led the discussions with our law enforcement partners throughout the country.”

The bureau has classified animal cruelty as a Group A felony, on par with homicide, arson and assault, and has defined animal cruelty 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 crimes are separated into four categories: simple or gross neglect, intentional abuse and torture, organized abuse — like dog fighting and cock fighting — and animal sexual abuse.

As Blasher points out, many have indicated animal abuse as a precursor to other violent crimes

“There is overwhelming evidence that [animal abuse] is linked to crimes against people, including violent crimes and domestic violence,” Mary Lou Randour, a psychologist and animal rights activist, told the Washington Post.

Additionally, psychologist Randall Lockwood told Yahoo News:  “Often animal cruelty is an indicator crime that other issues may be going on within the same household: ongoing child abuse, elder abuse, domestic violence and so on. Animal cruelty can also be a predictor crime that those who are repeatedly involved in harming animals are at high risk of being involved in crimes against people.”

Data collected in 2016 will be available to the public in 2017.

Posted in General News

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