For the first time, the FBI will start treating animal abuse in the same way they do homicides, arson and assault.
Over 10 years ago, Psychologist Mary Lou Randour left her position to devote herself to being an animal rights advocate. After years of a combined lobbying effort by animal rights advocates, the bureau finally agreed to make animal cruelty a Class A felony back in 2014.
Now, for the first time it will collect data on animal crimes the same way as homicides.
“These are creatures that suffer and we know their capacity to suffer,” said Randour, now the senior adviser for animal cruelty programs and training at the nonprofit Animal Welfare Institute. “In most societies it’s recognized that creatures that are dependent on others, whether the elderly or children or animals, need to be protected.”
The FBI officially defines the “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. 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.”
Animal cruelty will be organized into four categories: Simple or gross neglect, intentions; abuse and torture, organized abuse (i.e. dogfighting and cockfighting) and animal sexual abuse.
By tracking these crimes in a newly advanced way, the FBI expects to help lower levels of abuse and prevent possible crimes. They also hope this will highlight the importance of vigilance throughout the bureau.